Forging a North Channel Partnership

Dumfries and Galloway Council are currently working with Mid and East Antrim Borough Council on reinvigorating the North Channel Partnership. This Partnership was originally established in 1999 by grouping key public and private interests on both sides of the Irish Sea. The main aim at that time was to secure an adequate strategy and investment programme for the land-based ferry links to the ports of Cairnryan, Belfast and Larne.


MEA Council Group

Members of the Council’s Economy and resources Committee will hear a report on the potential to re-establish this Partnership at their meeting on 19th November. They will also be asked to agree to the terms of reference for the proposed Partnership.

Work has already started to prepare a joint Action Plan. The proposed role of the North Channel Partnership will be to:

  • adopt strategic policy and lobbying positions on projects of mutual interest to both Councils
  • work jointly on shared economic, tourism, heritage and cultural projects whic provide defined and measured benefits for the respective areas
  • identify and attract funding for joint projects which positively impact on the economy of both regions
  • strengthen the historic links and strong relationships between the respective Council regions
  • share best practice on the development of policy, the economy, tourism culture and heritage
  • identify and prioritise those activities which can create an immediate positive impact on the economy
  • raise the economic profile of both regions

Chair of E&R, Rob Davidson said: “In light of Brexit, and building on areas of mutual interest, we believe that there is significant scope for collaboration. We have already met and carried out some scoping work which has identified common challenges and opportunities and where there is the potential for joint working on Economic Development projects. In particular we have already identified areas where we can ‘kick start’ projects, such as ports, infrastructure and roads, food and drink, digital and tourism, and we look forward to working with our neighbours in Northern Ireland on these.”

Vice Chair, Archie Dryburgh said: “Both Councils have a shared focus on a wide range of areas and activities. Mid and East Antrim have already undertaken initial lobbying which supports our Council’s position on the A77 and A75 trunk roads with both the UK and Scottish Governments. Hopefully this is just the start of our mutually beneficial collaboration.”