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Bid for Westminster to get involved on lifeline roads

Flooding on the A75 at Barlae

A FRESH bid to secure extra funding for Wigtownshire's lifeline trunk roads – the A75 and A77 – has been launched. MSP Emma Harper has written to the transport secretaries of the UK and Scottish Governments to outline a case for the UK Government to partially foot the bill for upgrades to the A75 and A77, given the UK's exit from the European Union in the coming months. Transport is devolved to Holyrood, making the Scottish Government responsible for the roads network. South of Scotland SNP MSP Miss Harper says UK's withdrawal from the EU will mean that the port of Cairnryan will become an increasingly busier hub for the movement of people, goods and services to and from the UK, Northern Ireland and Europe. Miss Harper has argued that, because the Sewel Convention – an agreement which accompanies the UK/EU withdrawal agreement – states there can be ‘no detriment' to Scotland in any way as a result of the UK decision to leave the EU, the UK Government have a responsibility to foot the bill to improve the safety, efficiency and attractiveness of the A75 in particular. Projections are that the A75 - the so-called EuroRoute – will become busier because of the UK policy decision and because the Scottish Government, under the current devolution settlement, only has limited revenue generating powers meaning they cannot be solely responsible for investment. In her letter, Miss Harper details the importance of Cairnryan and the attractiveness of its short sea crossing. The crossing also has the fewest cancellations due to inclement weather compared to other routes. “Everyone who lives, works or travels thorough South West Scotland – and in particular on the A75 - agrees that these extremely important arterial transport routes are in need of significant investment to improve their efficiency, safety and attractiveness. “I have therefore constructively written to the UK Government to ask whether they would be willing to pay for investment on the A75 (Euro Route 18) which is 1,890km long, and which will become increasingly busier as a result of the UK Government's decision to remove the UK from the EU. “The Sewel Convention – which accompanies the UK/EU withdrawal documentation - states very clearly that there should be no detriment to Scotland in any way as a result of the decision to withdraw from the EU. Because the A75 in particular will become increasingly busier, it is to be expected that there will be further potholes, wear-and-tear and infrastructure damage caused by road users from outside the South West of Scotland. For me, this means detriment to Scotland which will be in contradiction to the Sewel Convention. “In my letter to the UK Government Transport and Scottish Secretaries, I have stated that I am more than happy to engage in discussion with them on this issue whether it be through meetings, phone calls or written correspondence. I have asked the them to give this request the consideration it deserves and I look forward to hearing back from them in due course."

<< back Published: 18 Jun 2020, 10:18

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