Scottish Government accused of dragging its heels over A75 upgrade

Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Finlay Carson has challenged the Scottish Government over its failure to engage in discussions with the UK Government over an upgrade of the A75.

By Brian Yule
Wednesday, 18th May 2022, 3:47 pm
Six months on and no discussions have taken place between the Scottish Government and the UK Government over upgrading the A75
Six months on and no discussions have taken place between the Scottish Government and the UK Government over upgrading the A75

He revealed that six months after it had given assurances that it would become involved in talks – no discussions have taken place.

Speaking at Holyrood, Mr Carson asked the Scottish Government to provide an update on infrastructure investment in the south of Scotland.

He said: “Exactly six months ago the First Minister and then Minister for Transport, Graeme Dey, promised to engage with the UK Government on an upgrade to the A75, after it was singled out in the union connectivity review as the trunk road that was in most need of upgrade in the whole of the UK.

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“Freight companies are now threatening to move their businesses away from Cairnryan, which would be a devastating blow to the economy of the south of Scotland.

“Stena Line has also appealed to the First Minister to act immediately and make the A75 and A77 a priority.

“However, I am told that, no meeting has been held – indeed, a date has not even been organised – despite requests being made from the UK Government.

“Given the broken promises can the Scottish Government stop dragging its heels and engage with the UK Government to act much faster?”

Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth confirmed she met representatives of Stena Line last month and heard their views on the need for improvements on both routes.

She admitted the union connectivity review offered support for the A75, but insisted they’d been frozen out of that process.

Afterwards Mr Carson responded to her comments, arguing the Scottish Government had instructed officials at Transport Scotland not to take part in the review.

He said: “The fact that six months on the Scottish Government has still to hold talks with the UK Government over the A75 is shocking.

“It shows what scant regard it has for the people in the south west corner of Scotland who have long been forgotten by them.

“Haulage companies and ferry operators have repeatedly highlighted the need for urgent improvements to the A75 and A77, but clearly their views are being ignored.”