Fife rail campaigners left feeling 'invisible' after City deal

The Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal has left rail campaigners in the Kingdom feeling 'invisible'.

Holyrood and Westminster have set aside more than a billion pounds to invest in six areas, including Fife, but nothing has been earmarked to reinstate the Levenmouth rail link.

The group at the forefront of the campaign to connect the Kingdom to the capital by re-establishing a train line say Fife has been 'neglected' in favour of the big city.

A statement from the Levenmouth Rail Campaign following the announcement reads:

"The announcement of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal confirms the undisguised metropolitan bias of recent Government policy, both Scottish and UK.

Investment priorities for the `regional’ component of this £1 billion deal as opposed to the city element are meagre to the point of invisibility.

Dropped from the final list of priority projects submitted was modest investment proposed to advance the reopening of the Levenmouth rail link, serving an estimated population catchment of 50,000 in the north of the region including Leven, Methil, Buckhaven and surrounding communities as well as the East Neuk, and a Fife Council transport priority.

£140 million, three times the amount needed to reopen the Levenmouth rail-link, is earmarked for improvement to the Edinburgh bypass and Western Edinburgh - including the airport.

With only 3% of Levenmouth’s population currently working in the Edinburgh area as a result of poor transport links, the Deal’s major investment in housing, culture, employment and innovation in Edinburgh will continue to lie beyond their effective reach.

The entire concept of the city-region is based around the premise of creating an integrated economy.

As long as a significant sub-region within its sphere suffers such poor connectivity, then Levenmouth will continue to struggle at the same time as the Edinburgh economy risks overheating.

Overall 24% of the City Region population live more than one hour’s commute from Edinburgh.

Provision in the Deal of a regional Transport Appraisal Working Group “which might influence the second national strategic Transport Projects Review” offers only minor comfort that the glaring omission of Levenmouth’s exclusion might be addressed in the foreseeable future.

Backed by an overwhelming case to reinstate the largest settlement in Scotland not connected by rail, the Campaign will continue to press for inclusion."

LMRC Chair Eugene Clarke said:

"It seems yet again that peripheral communities such as Levenmouth are being ignored.

"The insistence on further developing already overcrowded areas with continuing labour shortages contradicts completely the Scottish Government declared strategies on addressing inequalities."

LMRC Secretary Dr Allen Armstrong added:

"The SE Scotland deal offers no benefit for people in the Levenmouth conurbation.

"Funding to advance the reopening the mothballed rail-link was considered a minimum requirement for this sizeable sub- region struggling with regeneration.

"With substantial private and public investment in this area via Diageo, Fife Energy Park, Levenmouth Campus and others, the failure of the City Deal to complete the missing link in terms connectivity seems negligent or incompetent, at best."

More from Local News