£300k Budget Boost For UK-Norway Ferry – Tour Auto Paris-Biarritz

More good news for the proposed UK-Scandinavia ferry as the Chancellor of the Exchequer pledges support.

Also, Tour Auto reveals the route for this year’s event. Buyers line up for MyFerryLink. Will coaches be exempt from new Exit Checks? Strict anti-pollution measures narrowly averted in Paris. Foreign truck drivers under attack in France. Mega-fines for trucker pair in Denmark. 

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£300K BUDGET BOST FOR UK-NORWAY FERRY

Chancellor pledges marketing support money for proposed new route.

Bergen harbour, Norway.

Bergen harbour, Norway.

The proposed UK-Norway ferry route received a major boost from the Chancellor of the Exchequer today.

Significant funds have been promised to support tourism marketing efforts between Newcastle and Scandinavia.

In his 2015 Budget statement earlier, George Osborne said, ‘The government will provide £300,000 funding for a new marketing campaign to promote the tourism links between Newcastle and Scandinavia in 2015.’

The move was immediately welcomed by Norwegian Seaways, the company behind the new route. It announced last month it would start sailings between Newcastle, Bergen and Stavanger in March 2016, restoring the ferry link between the UK and Scandinavia lost when DFDS pulled out of the Harwich-Esbjerg route last September.

Operations Director Paul Woodbury said, ‘Great news in today’s Budget that the government will support our UK/Norway ferry talks and commit to £300,000 in marketing support. It is a positive step towards reinstatement of the Newcastle-Norway ferry service.’

Sarah Stewart, chief executive of local tourism board the NewcastleGateshead Initiative also threw her support behind the bid.

She told The Journal today, ‘Most recent estimates indicate a ferry route could deliver significant numbers of passengers a year and provide a major economic boost for the region, as a result of both improved trade links and inbound tourism.’

As was highlighted in the Scottish parliament debate on support for the UK-Norway ferry in January, due to state aid rules official support for such services is effectively limited to money for general marketing. The danger for Norwegian Ferries is that another operator could decide to take advantage.

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The Tour Auto route between Paris and Biarritz has been announced, including four race tracks. More later.

One of Europe’s most prestigious and exciting classic car trials – certainly one of the biggest with around 250 top notch entries – Tour Auto Optic 2000 prides itself on never using the same route twice. It always starts in the same place however, the Grand Palais in Paris where the cars spectacularly assemble under the copper and glass roof. Last year’s event headed through east France, finishing in Marseilles. This year the destination is Biarritz, in the very south west near the Spanish border, via the Magny Cours, Charade, Albi and Pau racing circuits and Vichy, Clermont Ferrand and Toulouse. It kicks off on Monday 20 April and last for five days. See more at TourAuto.com or @TourAuto or check back @DriveEurope for a blow-by-blow look at the route nearer the time.

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roundup: CROSSING THE CHANNEL. There are four potential buyers for MyFerryLink reveals Eurotunnel CEO Jacques Gounon at the company’s annual results presentation today. He expects a sale price of between €120-150m according to The Guardian. Meanwhile, after a warning from the UK Chamber of Shipping that new Exit Checks due at all UK ports on 8 April could mean queues on the Dover-bound A20 as far as Folkestone, Home Secretary Theresa May refused to rule out making coach parties exempt from the new identity checks at yesterday’s Home Affairs Select Committee meeting. She says she will wait for the results of recent trials before making any decisions. FRANCE. Touch and go in Paris today as, briefly, the French capital became the most polluted major city on earth thanks to raised fine particle levels. Mayor Anne Hidalgo requested – from the government – ‘alternate traffic’ where only cars with registration plates ending with either odd or even numbers, depending, would be allowed to drive in Paris but pollution was forecast to fall before she got an answer. Interestingly, the last time alternate traffic was used in Paris was exactly one year and one day ago. Meanwhile, farmers believed to be angry at foreign competition are said to have set fire to a Spanish truck carrying pork in the Brittany town of Landivisiau last weekend reports TrackerInfo.eu. The driver was allowed to escape with the tractor unit. At the same time, 37 mainly Polish and Lithuanian trucks in the area were vandalised with black paint says Trasporto Europa. DENMARK. Two Hungarian drivers working for a Dutch haulier were each fined 100,000DKK (£9700) – and the haulier 300,000DKK – after police stopped the vehicle in Kolding and found it had been driven almost continuously for six days reports Avisen.dk. The pair claimed one rested in a minibus en route between the other’s rest periods.

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