AN SNP MP has said he is “disappointed” in both the UK and Scottish Governments after plans for a new Scotland to Europe were ditched due to a lack of financial backing.

The route – three return sailings per week from Rosyth to the French port of Dunkirk – was earmarked for a May 2024 start date but ferry operator DFDS pulled the plans on Tuesday, telling stakeholders in an email seen by The National that it was “no longer feasible” due to a lack of “commitment” from the Scottish and UK Government to help with start-up funding.

Douglas Chapman – SNP MP for Dunfermline and West Fife – has been the lead campaigner for the issue for years. He told The National that “despite our best efforts” it looked as though the service is “locked in port indefinitely”.

He thanked shipping expert Derek Sloan, as well as Fife Council and staff at both ports and DFDS for the “time and energy” put into the project.

Chapman added that he was “clearly disappointed” in both the UK and Scottish governments, especially given the decision not to back the project was in the face of “worsening export figures” and the “disastrous consequences of Brexit” on the Scottish economy.

READ MORE: New Scotland to Europe ferry 'won't work without government support'

In a final plea, he went on: “Now we are beyond the 11th hour, I would hope that the Scottish Government will convene a meeting to get everyone around the table to discuss a suitable package of support given the extreme urgency involved."

Neale Hanvey – Alba’s Westminster leader – reissued his call for transport minister Fiona Hyslop (below) to convene a summit with all stakeholders to “kick start” the process.

The Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP said that “time is running out to make this a reality” and that it is now “vital that the transport minister intervenes”.

He added: “There is overwhelming public support and a strong business case all that is lacking is the political will and some ‘pump prime’ funding from the Scottish and UK governments to get it up and running. Any such funding would be readily recouped many times over by the Gross Value Added (GVA) generated in economic activity. The Scottish Government subsidises every other form of public transport including ferries for our island communities as well as trains, buses, and air travel.

“It is high time the Scottish Government showed some leadership in this regard and convened a summit of all the interested parties so that progress can finally be made.”

The National:

Responding to the news that the ferry plans are being scrapped, a Transport Scotland spokesperson said: "We’ve always made clear our support for the development of Scotland’s ports and the potential for new direct freight and passenger ferry services linking Scotland to Europe.

“We will continue to engage with port operators and others to explore how that might be delivered so that Scottish exporters have more direct routes to market. The Scottish Government cannot subsidise routes in ways which would be anti-competitive beyond considering the availability of limited grant funding opportunities for freight initiatives.

"We’ve been clear throughout our discussions that any new service will be required to be delivered on a commercial basis.”