Anger at ‘snub’ for Leven rail link bid

Campaigners have been pushing for the Leven Rail Link. Picture: Fife Photo Agency
Campaigners have been pushing for the Leven Rail Link. Picture: Fife Photo Agency

The £1.1bn Edinburgh City Region Deal, which includes Fife among the areas to benefit from investment in infrastructure, has come under criticism for failing to fund the Levenmouth Rail Link.

The deal was the fourth to be agreed in Scotland, with the money from both the Westminster and Holyrood governments going to transport, housing, and infrastructure in and around Edinburgh.

Colin Davidson, councillor for Leven, Kennoway, and Largo, said the lack of funding for the project was “inexcusable”.

“It’s deeply disappointing,” he said. “Local people have been let down. The SNP are in power, they’re in a position to deliver it. It’s inexcusable.

“They delivered the Borders Rail Link, our case is stronger than the Borders.”

Green MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife Mark Ruskell was also disappointed by the deal.

“Additional funding for training and jobs is always welcome, but this deal lacks ambition and is a step backwards from earlier proposals, which included much needed funding for new railway routes at Levenmouth and in West Fife.

“We have been promised a ‘regional Transport Appraisal working group’ which Fife Council has said will help communities build the case for new rail routes, but there is already a strong and compelling case in place for the Levenmouth rail link after 20 years of campaigning by the community, and I fear that this working group will only delay progress further.

Cllr David Ross, Co-Leader of Fife Council, said: “The deal falls short of what we were looking for to accelerate growth and ensure that the benefits of that growth are distributed more equally across the Region, but it is a significant step in the right direction.

“We will continue to work hard to secure further investment and to ensure this City Deal benefits communities and businesses across the Kingdom, and ensure maximum impact for Fife from all the programmes outlined in the Deal – including the research, development and innovation, education and skills, transport and housing programmes.”

Scottish Economy Secretary Keith Brown said: “The Scottish Government will be investing in the region’s workforce and will invest up to £25 million for an Integrated Regional Employability and Skills Programme which will reduce skills shortages and gaps, delivering opportunity for people across Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and the Borders.”