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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 March 2007, 16:55 GMT
Summit for Wales Devon ferry link
Ferries (library)
There is support on both sides of the Bristol Channel
Business leaders have discussed "exciting" plans to run regular ferries and helicopter links between the south west of England and south Wales.

A summit in Devon looked at Fast Cat passenger services from Ilfracombe to Swansea and Minehead to Penarth.

Helicopter links between north Devon and Wales were also discussed.

There is now support on both sides of the Bristol Channel with claims the ferry service, which would take around 35 minutes, could be running by 2008.

Wednesday's meeting was chaired by the North Devon chambers of commerce and industry (NDCCI).

Spokesman Kevin Kelway said: "Today was looking at the feasibility, looking at the financial implications and looking at how the economy could grow from this.

Initially we are looking at a passenger ferry that could operate at least twice daily
Chris Marrow

"What I'm excited about was it was not politicians talking about this, it was business leaders who were looking at it from a shear commercial profit point of view.

"The next stage now is to take the ferry road show to Wales and bring in Welsh business leaders with north Devon to have a thriving Bristol Channel.

"People came out of the meeting today excited about how this plan could become a reality."

The proposals are the idea of Chris Marrow, of Mariners Marine Consultants.

"My basic idea is that what is needed is a car ferry and Ilfracombe is included in the Devon County Plan as a ferry entry point from Wales."

He said there would need to be investment in the existing infrastructure at Ilfracombe - car ferries already dock at Swansea.

"Initially we are looking at a passenger ferry that could operate at least twice daily," he said.

Swansea Council said talks were at still at a preliminary stage.

"We looking forward to receiving feedback following the meeting in Devon," said a spokesman.


SEE ALSO
Swansea-Cork ferry is suspended
09 Jan 07 |  South West Wales
Freight ferry boost for Swansea
26 Feb 07 |  South West Wales

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