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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 July 2007, 15:48 GMT 16:48 UK
Wales-Devon ferry aims for 2008
Ferries (library)
There is support on both sides of the Bristol Channel
Backers behind plans for a "fast cat" ferry between south west England and Wales have told business leaders in Swansea it could be running in a year.

They said 1m had been promised for the passenger services from Ilfracombe to Swansea and Minehead to Penarth.

It was the first time they have met in Wales to discuss the plans and followed a summit in Devon earlier this year.

The west Wales Chamber of Commerce said it was "impressed" by the "exciting and innovative idea."

Business and council leaders from both sides of the Bristol Channel met in Swansea on Tuesday to discuss the scheme.

Chris Marrow of Mariners Marine Consultants outlined his plan to more than 25 delegates including Welsh Assembly Government representatives and Swansea councillors.

Chris Holley
A passenger link with Devon would be a fantastic opportunity to boost tourism in Swansea
Chris Holley, Swansea Council leader

Speaking afterwards Steve Penny, president of the west Wales Chamber of Commerce, said: "This is an exiting and innovative idea.

"We were impressed by the business plan and we're looking forward to seeing how it can be developed over the coming months."

Swansea council leader Chris Holley said it was "a great opportunity for tourism" on both sides of the water.

He added: "The organisations behind this project still have a lot of work to do to bring this very exciting project to fruition.

"They will be coming back to us in the coming months with further and more detailed information."

Mr Morrow initially plans a 138-passenger ferry but believes the routes could be developed for a "fast cat" vehicle ferry, which could travel between both coasts in around 50 minutes.

He said it could launch in time for the 2008 summer season.

The proposal has been backed by the North Devon Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Spokesman Kevin Kelway said: "For the first time south west and south Wales business leaders are talking from the same collective song sheet, and we are very excited about this meeting."


SEE ALSO
Summit for Wales Devon ferry link
14 Mar 07 |  South West Wales
Swansea-Cork ferry is suspended
09 Jan 07 |  South West Wales

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