The New Year has brought the shock news that P&O Ferries is to end its Troon to Larne service that has operated since 2003. The firm advises the decision has been taken because the service has continued to make a loss despite efforts to improve the situation, including reducing the number of crossings at non-peak times and trying to source lower cost craft. Although no redundancies are envisaged as a result of the service termination, it is nonetheless a blow to Troon and the local area.
I have written to the General Manager at Larne expressing my disappointment but also asking if consideration could be given to possible alternatives. For example, the Cairnryan to Larne service is a lucrative crossing for both freight and passengers and I feel that the Troon service could also have proven profitable had it the capacity to take lorries. After all, the access to the motorway network for the central belt is far superior to using the southern part of the A77 as a gateway, making the route to market shorter for many goods. I have also had a meeting with the Portmaster at Troon to discuss how other business can be attracted to the harbour.
I was rather disturbed to see the needless destruction of a large number of trees along the cycle path that passes Lochgreen as part of recent works carried out by a utility company. Having walked the path myself, I cannot understand why so many trees had to be cut down for what was achieved, particularly when further along the path much less damage was caused. I understand from South Ayrshire Council that they are investigating the matter and I will certainly be urging them to ensure new tress are planted by the culpable party, although it will take many years to re-establish what has been lost.