Carson calls for Scottish Government to actually listen to responses from transport connectivity consultation

Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Finlay Carson says the views being expressed by organisations, groups and individuals over improving future transport connectivity in the south of Scotland must be acted upon.

By Brian Yule
Thursday, 5th May 2022, 12:18 pm
Disappointment was expressed over the contents of STPR2
Disappointment was expressed over the contents of STPR2

He believes opinions being sought from the public over the Strategic Transport Projects Review 2 should be a “wake up” call for the Scottish Government, and insists repeated failures by successive government ministers to deliver on previous commitments to improve transport infrastructure in the region must now be addressed as a matter of urgency.

Mr Carson said: “There is no point in the Scottish Government going through a public consultation process over STPR2 if they are not going to listen at the end of it.

“Pledges to improve transport connectivity in the south of Scotland have continually failed to actually materialise. They say one thing then conveniently forget to deliver what they promised. Improvements to the A75 is, of course, the prime example.

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“Everybody knows the importance and significance that this route plays to both our local and national economies but has been totally ignored by the powers-at-be at Holyrood over the last 15 years.”

This comes after Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal made public its views on STPR2 last month.

The partnership brings together representatives from the public and private sectors across the south of Scotland and north of England..

In its response, it points out transport connectivity is of “critical importance” to the region. It argues there is a synergy between the national policy agenda and the needs and aspirations of the people that live, work and visit Borderlands area.

Highlighting a number of key principles and points that need to be addressed, Borderlands insists the review needs to be more “strongly grounded” in the specific needs and opportunities.

Crucially, it says: “the south of Scotland is largely over looked despite the role of transport in addressing socio-economic challenges being well defined and understood.”

On improving the A75/A77 corridor, the partnership adds: “While the review includes welcome reference to the role of the A75 and A77 it would benefit from providing further clarity on the outcomes and wider connectivity.”

“However there is no specific detail on these proposals at the present time and it is currently unclear how this recommendation will be taken forward and what level of investment may be available to upgrade these transport corridors.”

The need for a viable public transport network within the region is also highlighted in its public consultation response.

The Borderlands Partnership said: “There is disappointment regarding the lack of proposed transport investment for the south of Scotland detailed within the document.

"We would have hoped that the level of ambition and subsequent allocation of suggested transport measures would have been delivered on an equitable basis, whereas the draft document appears to be a particular focus on cities and urban areas but not the specific, and defined needs, of our region.”