Ardrossan has won the battle to remain the mainland departure port for the lucrative ferry route to Arran, the Government has confirmed.
The port had been under threat of losing the lifeline route to rival Ayrshire port Troon after the Government commissioned a study on the issue.
The potential move was resisted by maritime unions and island residents as well as North Ayrshire Council.
A Scottish Government spokesman confirmed the decision today.
He said: “The ferry service linking Arran with the mainland will continue to berth at Ardrossan Harbour, following a study into the route commissioned by Scottish Ministers.
“The study looked at the two available options objectively, taking into account a broad range of factors including the impact on users in terms of travel time, fares, and connectivity, as well as reliability and the costs to the public purse.”
The decision follows the publication of a specialist transport options appraisal report into both Ardrossan and Troon harbours, consultation with all key stakeholders and an opportunity for further representations from all parties involved in the process.
Economy secretary Keith Brown said: “Having considered all the evidence and representations, we have decided that retaining Ardrossan as the mainland port for the Arran ferry service is the best option.
“The study looked at the options under four broad pillars: Connectivity, Reliability, Overall Operational Cost to the Public Purse and Socio-Economic considerations.
“We carried out consultation with all the key stakeholders, including groups representing the community on Arran who depend on this transport link. It plays a key role in keeping them connected to the mainland as well as supporting the tourist trade by bringing visitors to the island.
“In coming to this decision, we have also received a pledge from Peel Ports and North Ayrshire Council to invest in improved facilities at Ardrossan Harbour. The Ardrossan Task Force will now reconvene to work towards delivering these improvements as soon as possible.
“The Scottish Government is committed to supporting our lifeline ferry links and ensuring that the Arran ferry service is fit for purpose, whilst also getting the best value for the public purse.”