Railway Station for Newburgh (STAG Appraisal)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 29th June 2022.

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Photo of Willie Rennie Willie Rennie Liberal Democrat

6. To ask the Scottish Government when it expects a decision to be reached on a railway station for Newburgh in Fife following the publication of the Newburgh and area Scottish transport appraisal guidance appraisal. (S6O-01297)

Photo of Jenny Gilruth Jenny Gilruth Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government has provided the South East of Scotland Transport Partnership—SEStran—with funding from the local rail development fund for the Newburgh transport appraisal.

SEStran has advised that it intends to send Transport Scotland the detailed options appraisal report for the Newburgh transport appraisal in the next few weeks. That is the third and final stage of a transport appraisal in line with the Scottish transport appraisal guidance, which is known as STAG. A completed, clear and robust strategic business case is required in line with STAG before any further consideration can be made for any new proposals.

Photo of Willie Rennie Willie Rennie Liberal Democrat

The community is very hopeful that the railway option will be highly thought of in the appraisal, because they feel cut off, even though the railway runs through the middle of Newburgh. The community, which is united, has been waiting for years for something to happen, so I want to press the minister on the issue. I know that the report will be handed over to Transport Scotland soon, but how long will it take for it to consider the report? When does she expect a decision to be reached?

Photo of Jenny Gilruth Jenny Gilruth Scottish National Party

I very much recognise the feeling of hope in the local community that Mr Rennie has described. He will know of the situation in my constituency and of the long-running campaign to re-establish the railway network in the Levenmouth area. I also understand the community’s feelings of disconnection from the wider rail infrastructure, recognising the geography of where Newburgh sits in the kingdom of Fife.

As I outlined in my initial answer, there is a process to be adhered to. That was the case with the reopening of the Levenmouth line and it has been the case with other rail lines in the past. As Willie Rennie will know, the strategic transport projects review 2 does not make any distinct recommendations in that regard.

Mr Rennie has asked a specific question about timescales. At this time, Transport Scotland has yet to receive the detailed options appraisal. I will ask my officials to provide my office with the timescale once the report has been received for review. I will be happy to share the details of that with the member once we have received the report.

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

Mark Ruskell has a supplementary question. I ask that he be brief.

Photo of Mr Mark Ruskell Mr Mark Ruskell Green

The Newburgh study was funded by the local rail development fund, alongside a range of other community projects across Scotland. Will the minister give an assurance that, now that those projects are coming to the end of the STAG process, all of them will be considered when it comes to allocating funds for rail infrastructure investment under control period 7?

Photo of Jenny Gilruth Jenny Gilruth Scottish National Party

I join the member in paying tribute to the hard-working community groups across the country, such as the one that we heard Mr Rennie speak of. Last Friday, I was in the north-east, where I heard from a campaign group about the re-establishment of rail in that part of the country. Of course, it is for that reason that the Government created the local rail development fund. The projects that Mr Ruskell mentioned are under way and are being considered under STAG. Projects that present a strong business case will be considered on a case-by-case basis. However, there must be local input into the process, which is one of the LRDF’s strengths.