Plans have been approved for a brand new £200m ferry port to be built on the east bank of Loch Ryan in south-west Scotland

A new ferry port has been given the go-ahead on the east bank of Loch Ryan in south-west Scotland.

The port, which will cost in the region of £200m, will cover an area of 28 acres and will be sited two miles north of Cairnryan.

Construction of the new port, which will be used for Stena Line’s Irish Sea services to Belfast, will take around 20 months and will be completed by autumn 2011.

A Harbour Empowerment Order to allow the creation of the new port has been approved by the Scottish Parliament.

First Minister Alex Salmond said that he welcomed the decision to approve the project.

“The relocation of the port [from Stranraer] to the new Loch Ryan Port will aid tourism with faster crossings between Scotland and Northern Ireland,” he said.