Campaign for North East Rail

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 27 April 2022.

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Photo of Maggie Chapman Maggie Chapman Green

8. To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on its engagement with the Campaign for North East Rail. (S6O-01005)

Photo of Jenny Gilruth Jenny Gilruth Scottish National Party

I am due to meet the Campaign for North East Rail and MSPs at a meeting planned for early in the summer, to discuss the campaign’s proposals. I thank the campaign group for submitting its response to the second strategic transport projects review consultation, which closed on the 15th of this month. All responses are now being considered, and they will help to inform the final set of recommendations, which we plan to publish later in year.

Photo of Maggie Chapman Maggie Chapman Green

I thank the minister for that response and her acknowledgement of CNER’s published response to the STPR2 process.

The minister will be aware of the importance of connecting the towns of Peterhead and Fraserburgh to the rail network, if they are to benefit from and be a part of creating the new economy that the north-east so desperately needs. Can the minister give assurances that the Campaign for North East Rail’s response will be included, and that the campaign group will be incorporated in design decisions for the next promised feasibility study, so that local knowledge and expertise can be taken on board to ensure that the next study will take into account the needs of north-east communities?

Photo of Jenny Gilruth Jenny Gilruth Scottish National Party

Although, as the member will know, STPR2 has not recommended an extension of a rail line to Ellon and onwards to Fraserburgh and Peterhead as a strategic rail priority, I recognise that that may be a regional priority. There remains a path for such rail projects to come forward; we saw that in my constituency in 2019, with the Levenmouth project. That has to be subject to a strong business case being developed and suitable funding being identified. Further work on that would be for partners to take forward.

I am committed to meeting campaigners, plus MSP colleagues. We will work with regional partners on any proposal for a rail link between Dyce and Ellon and further north to Peterhead and Fraserburgh, if they decide to take such an option forward.

Photo of Liam Kerr Liam Kerr Conservative

Since 2016, I have been campaigning for new stations at Cove and Newtonhill—something that the Campaign for North East Rail is also keen to progress. According to a recent study from Nestrans, most respondents in Cove and Newtonhill are in favour.

Now that the multimodal study has been published, can the transport minister tell me when Transport Scotland will issue its formal response and when people in the north-east will get the stations that they deserve?

Photo of Jenny Gilruth Jenny Gilruth Scottish National Party

I thank Mr Kerr for his question. I do not have the detail of that in front of me but I will be more than happy to write to him with further detail.