- Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands
- Chris Wilcock– Transport Scotland
- Caroline Connelly - Transport Scotland – Secretariat
- Paul Linhart-MacAskill – Transport Scotland
- Graeme McGinty – Project Manager - CMAL
- Ruairidh Campbell – CMAL Liaison Officer
- Kevin Hobbs – CMAL CEO
- Bill Calderwood – Arran Ferry Committee (AFC)
- Iain Thomson – Arran Ferry Committee (AFC)
- Cllr Joe Cullinane – North Ayrshire Council (NAC)
- Karen Yeomans – North Ayrshire Council (NAC)
- Doug Coleman – Peel Ports Group (PPG)
- Gary Hodgson – Peel Ports Group (PPG)
- Pauline Blackshaw – CalMac
- Danielle Neutgens- CalMac
- Lauren McEwan - CalMac
- Frances Pacitti – Transport Scotland
- Alasdair Laurenson – North Ayrshire Council (NAC)
- Kenneth Gibson MSP
- James Anderson – CMAL
- Robbie Drummond - CalMac
- Craig Hatton – NAC
- Andy Crossan – CMAL
Item 1 – Welcome and Introductions
1. Mr Wheelhouse welcomed everyone to the meeting. Apologies were noted. General Housekeeping on MS Teams noted.
Item 2 – Last Meeting Overview and matters arising
2. The Minutes from the 16 December 2020 Task Force were agreed and published on the Transport Scotland website. Actions arising from the previous meeting: Funding, Service Continuity Planning and Analysis of port options during construction period would be covered in today’s meeting as outlined in the accompanying papers.
Item 3 –Ardrossan Steering Group Update
3. Chris Wilcock and Caroline Connelly summarised the work undertaken by the steering group members on the analysis of the port options during the construction period including the Funding, and Service Continuity updates.
4. Mr Wheelhouse re-affirmed the commitment of working collaboratively and that services would remain at Ardrossan in the long term.
5. Discussions were undertaken in regards to the analysis of the port options, whereby Mr Wheelhouse acknowledged the effort made by all members on bringing this complex task together over the past months. It was accepted that delivering the best and reliable service during the works was of upmost importance. In doing so operating from an alternative port was compared against operating from the Irish Berth where concerns around service reliability were highlighted; taking account of weather cancellations around 23-50% over the period of the works. In addition the deployment of the Glen Sannox to the route was also considered and how the communities would best benefit from the vessel and increased capacity.
6. Mr Wheelhouse acknowledged the results of the community survey and that 79% were in favour of the service operating to Troon however noted the comments that further work would be required around timetable integration with other transport modes, and concerns around the public being able to commute to their place of work as well as travelling to hospital appointments.
7. CalMac confirmed that further consultation with the communities will be taken forward to ensure that all aspects of travel, work and business/leisure activities are understood and included in the service continuity plans.
8. Ultimately the recommendation to the Task Force of operating from Troon takes cognisance of all of these elements. As Chair, Mr Wheelhouse asked all parties to respond to the recommendation in the affirmative or decline. Responses were recorded as follows:
- North Ayrshire Council - approved recommendation
- Arran Ferry Committee – approved recommendation
- Peel Ports Group – approved recommendation on the basis that compensation will be paid due to service temporarily operating from Troon. .
- CalMac – approved recommendation (and advised they would operate where TS instructed where it was safe to do so and Troon satisfies this requirement).
- CMAL – approved recommendation
- Transport Scotland – approved recommendation
- Mr Wheelhouse accepted all affirmative responses and was content as chair to accept the recommendation of services operating from Troon during the period of the construction works.
9. Cllr J Cullinane highlighted that all members were mindful in making this decision of any impacts that may arise to either community and the need for further work to be undertaken to mitigate these.
Item 4 –Vessel Update
10. Mr Wheelhouse re-affirmed the Scottish Government’s commitment to ensure Ferguson Marine Port Glasgow’s completion of the new vessel for the Ardrossan to Brodick route, MV Glen Sannox (Hull 801). Everyone at the yard is doing everything they can to deliver the vessels per the expected completion date in Q1 2022 and, subject to sea trials, an anticipated delivery date to CalMac of April-June 2022.
11. Progress updates by Director, Tim Hair will be provided to Ministers and to the Rural Economic & Connectivity Committee.
Item 5 –Next Steps
12. The Task Force agreed the following work be taken forward –
- Completion of Legal & Funding Agreements prior to pre-election period (24 March 2020) and submission to Ministers for approval
- Communication – Press Release for Task Force decision today
- Economic Impacts – work to be undertaken to mitigate these
- Service Continuity Planning – Timetables and transport integration – public consultation.
Item 6 - AOB
13. Cllr JC formally advised the Task Force of the Petition regarding Car Parking Charges and potential impact on funding for the North Ayrshire Council’s business plan for the Landside infrastructure of the Ardrossan project.
Item 7 – Date of next meeting
Date of next meeting – August 2021.