This afternoon I met with Council Officers and representatives from the Levenmouth Rail Campaign. We are working on the final stages of the STAG document, which has to be submitted if we want to be successful in the bid to reopen the 5 miles of track that would then re connect a community that has been disadvantaged for far too long.
The reopening of the rail line is estimated to cost around £80M – but we have to put together the best case we can to support this “bid” to the Scottish Government. The next allocation of investment for Scotland wide rail projects will begin from 2019 so getting through this first stage of the bid process is key.
Levenmouth is one of the largest areas in the whole of Scotland that does not have a rail link. It is one of the most deprived areas in Scotland. It has one of the highest unemployment rates in Fife. The re opening of the rail link means that people in Levenmouth area would have access to an increase of over 500% in job vacancies.
Fife Council and the Scottish Government have an agenda of inclusive growth, social inclusion and fairness. That’s why, in my opinion, right now, at this stage of the Rail Investment Process for 2019 Levenmouth is the No 1 Rail Investment Project for Fairness, Equity and Social Inclusion. If we are truly serious about tacking poverty and closing the gap….Then it simply has to be Levenmouth.
Disappointingly SNP members from Dunfermline appear to be trying to undermine the bid. They are attempting to portray the Dunfermline / Alloa line in competition with Levenmouth. It isn’t. Both are important to Fife. Fife wants and needs both.
But all this negativity is so unnecessary anyway as it has already been agreed through the work of the Longannet Task Force, that a Transport Assessment for the Dunfermline / Alloa line will be conducted by Transport Scotland and Fife Council as part of the Longannet Task Force Action Plan. This has already been agreed and Fife Council are part funding this.
Until that assessment work is done, and until the future use of the Scottish Power site is known, Levenmouth is the most advanced rail project in Fife and with all of Fife MSP’s already backing the project let’s hope the submission will be successful. It won’t just be good for Levenmouth – it will be good for Fife.