Labour voices support for Levenmouth rail link in manifesto

Labour say this could become reality if they are elected
Labour say this could become reality if they are elected

The Scottish Labour party has included a commitment to the re-opening of the Levenmouth Rail Link in its manifesto, released on Wednesday.

As a result, Scottish Labour is the only major party in the election specifically pledging for its introduction in their manifesto.

The campaigning for the re-introduction of the Levenmouth rail link has been running for a number of years, with the latest campaign group, Levenmouth Rail Campaign (LMRC) set up in 2014.

The campaign has gained the backing of a number of politicians, rail experts and Fife Council.

Commenting, Claire Baker, Labour’s Scottish Parliamentary candidate for Kirkcaldy, said: “Since I was first elected in 2007 I have been fully supportive of the campaign for the re-introduction of the Levenmouth rail link, raising it in Parliament, with Fife Council and my own party.

“It is a result of that lobbying that I am proud to say that a Scottish Labour Government would make the reintroduction of the rail link one of its top rail projects in the next Parliament.

“We would work closely with Fife Council and together we would make the project a reality.

“I have said throughout this election that the re-introduction of the Levenmouth rail link is one of my priorities for the area and its inclusion in our manifesto is proof that I will stand up for my area.”

She added: “I know that locals are frustrated by the lack of progress so far. The SNP’s manifesto gives no indication that the rail link is a priority for their party and that is disappointing.

“At least 15 rail projects are mentioned in the SNP manifesto, yet not one mention of Levenmouth. After nine years of an SNP Government stalling on the rail link it is becoming clear that Scottish Labour is the only major party fully committed to the re-introduction of the Levenmouth rail link.”

The move has been welcomed by LMRC chairman Eugene Clark who said: “While it’s good to hear words of support from the parties what we need now us a public commitment to action.

“We welcome the fact that the Labour manifesto specifically mentions the LevenMouth project.

“We hope that whoever is in charge of transport in the next Scottish government takes note of the fact that we have all party, all community support and gives a clear statement that they will support our project.”

David Torrance, SNP candidate for the area, said in response: “I fully support the campaign to re-open the Levenmouth rail link, which could improve journey times for residents and would be a significant boost for local transport infrastructure and the economy of the area.

“I have attended numerous LMRC meetings and have raised the issue in Parliament.

“Further, to make all parties aware of how important an issue this is to the local area I also facilitated the meeting of Transport Scotland, the Transport Minister and Fife Council.

“Fife Council as the promoter of the project has undertaken an appraisal of the scheme and it’s incumbent upon them to keep moving the project forward and ensure there are no more unnecessary delays.

“If re-elected on May 5 I will continue to give my backing to the campaign to re-open the route and will raise this matter as a priority with the Scottish Government, to ensure that the Levenmouth Rail Campaign is included in the £20 billion major infrastructure programme committed to in our manifesto.”

Martin Laidlaw, candiate for the Scottish Conservative party, said: “I was delighted that Conservative candidate for Glenrothes and Mid-Fife Alex Stewart-Clarke met with Eugene Clarke, the chairman of the Levenmouth Rail campaign, last week in order to provide formal support for the reintroduction of this rail link.

“The Scottish Conservatives are dedicated to increasing transport links across Scotland, as outlined in our manifesto, and, unlike the Labour Party, will do so without increasing the amount of income tax paid by the Scottish worker.”

And fellow candidate, Lauren Jones, standing for the Liberal Democrats, said: “The Borders Railway has shown what a difference boosting transport links can make to communities and it is important that Fife does not miss out.

“The campaigners for the Levenmouth link have made a really compelling case and if elected I would support moves to see this route re-opened. The potential benefits are enormous.

“While our manifesto does not specifically mention the Levenmouth rail link, the manifesto says we will ‘conduct a feasibility study for extending the Borders’ Railway from Tweedbank to Hawick and Carlisle, ‘along with other potential route re-opening opportunities’ so I would definitely support this.

“Even if I am not elected the project has my full backing.”