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Poll reveals huge public support for A75 upgrade

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By Fiona Reid
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Poll reveals huge public support for A75 upgrade

MORE than 90 per cent of people living in South West Scotland say the A75 and A77 roads should be upgraded – with three-quarters citing safety concerns.

A poll released this week by the newly-branded South West Scotland Transport Alliance (SWSTA) shows the swell of support across the region for significant action.

Among residents of Dumfries and Galloway, South Ayrshire and East Ayrshire:

● 93 per cent want full or partial upgrades of the A75 and A77

● More than three-quarters want those upgrades for safety reasons

● More than six in 10 of those surveyed think the current transport network puts off investment

● About half believe the network puts off tourists and stops people living in the region

● 72 per cent think that governments don’t understand the issues of importance to people in south west Scotland

The SWSTA is led by Stena Line, P&O Ferries and Belfast Harbour, the coalition of ferry and harbour operators which has campaigned for improvements in recent years.

Its calls for action are supported by Dumfries and Galloway Council, South Ayrshire Council and the chambers of commerce in Dumfries and Galloway and Ayrshire.

Paul Grant, from Stena Line, said: “Our partnership wants to make these roads safer, greener and better. This new polling shows the strength of public support behind that.

“We know that hauliers and other travellers are put off using the ports at Cairnryan because of the poor connections. That’s bad for the economy.

“But this is primarily a safety issue. The simple fact is that, whether riding a bike, or driving a car or truck, people are at risk on the A75 and A77 in their current state.

“We are urging the Scottish and UK Governments to continue talking and to take action – together, if need be – to secure the investment urgently and desperately needed.”

Craig Rennie, P&O Ferries Cairnryan port manager, said: “The polling confirms our long-held concerns that the roads in their current state are obstructing ambitious plans to grow South West Scotland’s economy, protecting jobs and supporting fragile rural communities.

“It’s also been found that lorries on the A75 and A77 emit nearly two tonnes more CO2 every day than they would on a dual-carriageway, making an uncongested road better for the environment. Inaction is costly to our climate.

“The people and businesses we speak to are less concerned about who finances or carries out the work, so long as it’s done.”

The SWSTA this week held an exhibition in the Scottish Parliament highlighting the case for upgrades to MSPs.

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