Conference gives biggest suggestion yet that Westminster will fund A75 upgrade
The UK Government is set to bypass the Scottish Government and provide direct funding for improvements to the A75.
Michael Gove, UK Housing and Communities Minister, is expected to give the green light to recommendations contained in Sir Peter Hendy’s union connectivity review ij the coming weeks.
This will signal the go-ahead to a package of measures – including an upgrade of the A75 Euro-route between Gretna and the ferry terminal at Cairnryan.
A video outlining the importance of the A75 was screened at this week’s Conservative Party conference in Manchester.
Grant Shapps, UK Secretary of State for Transport, said: “The A75 Euro-route is not a major traffic artery smoothly delivering the com mercial lifeblood of this country, but rather a twisted ribbon of potholed tar .”
“The ferry port at Cairnryan provides a critical link moving p eople and goods from Northern Ireland to the UK.
"The biggest hurdle is not the 12 miles distance between County Antrim and Wigtownshire – but the A75.”
His comments were backed by a spokesman for Stena Line who insisted the £200m investment in upgrading the port in 2011 had ‘created a 21st century terminal – only to be hindered by 20th century roads such as the A75 and A77’ .
Dumfries and Galloway MP Alister Jack, Secretary of State for Scotland, accused the Scottish Government of being content with promoting a sclerotic transport system.
He said: “Even when presented with the change to engage with a truly transformational document that is Sir Peter Hendy’s union connectivity review it has refused to get on board and improve the lives of all our citizens.
“I believe it’s right for the UK Government to consider the big picture to see the transport corridors that Sir Peter sees as pivotal to whole being of every man, woman and child in this country.
"It is estimated that 45 per cent of Northern Ireland’s entire trade moves along the A75, only a short-sighted separatist government could object to the UK Government offering to transform this and other roads like it.
"We want to deliver on Sir Peter Hendy’s vision of a new era for roads, rail, sea and air transport.”