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Minister hears A75 demands

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By Christie Breen
Dumfries and West
Minister hears A75 demands

CLARITY is being sought about the timeline for improvements to the A75 by Stena Line, following talks with a Minister earlier this week.

The UK Government Minister for Scotland John Lamont MP visited Stena Line’s port at Cairnryan on Monday.

There, he met with representatives from Stena Line and haulier Manfreight, as well as the Dumfries and Galloway Chamber of Commerce.

Stena Line has welcomed progress on the A75 in recent years, in particular, the recent agreement between the Department for Transport (DfT) and Transport Scotland (TS), that TS will use £8m of funding from DfT to carry out a feasibility study on bypassing the villages of Crocketford and Springholm.

However the ferry operator, along with its peers in the South West Scotland Transport Alliance, reiterated points made at last month’s inaugural summit on improving the A75 and A77 that specific detail was required to understand precisely when the feasibility study would take place, and how long thereafter the work on the bypasses will commence.

Commenting on the Minister’s visit to the port and the need for clarity about the feasibility study, Stena Line’s Andy Kane said: “We had a good discussion with the Minister and we are confident he understands the seriousness of the situation. The A75 is the main artery through Northern Ireland, Scotland and England, but it is substantially poorer than we need as an operator and user of the road.

“We are working with peers and both governments to make the A75 safer, greener and better. With an increase in traffic on our ferries, and subsequently on the A75, the road is becoming less safe, less green and less efficient.

“Stena Line’s investment is inevitably curtailed, and will continue to be curtailed, while the infrastructure remains sub-standard.”

Mr Lamont added: “The UK Government is working closely and at pace with Transport Scotland and the Scottish Government, who are responsible for the A75, to finalise the details governing the allocation of funds for the study. This is standard practice before funds can be released. Following the study and the Scottish Government’s business case process to identify a preferred option for the realignment of the A75, the UK Government is committed to fund delivery of targeted improvements.

“We look forward to continuing to work with Transport Scotland, Scottish Government and partners on linking up the UK much more effectively – boosting our economy, creating jobs and levelling up opportunities around the country.”

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