£8 Million UK Backed A75 Bypass Study for Crocketford & Springholm Announced

PROGRESS with a bid to bring traffic relief to the Galloway villages of Springholm and Crocketford has been welcomed by local MP Alister Jack but South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has described the re-announcement of £8m of UK Government funding to the Scottish Government to “identify improvements” to the A75 is “not good enough”.


Mr Jack has long contended the diversion of A75 vehicles from the centre of the two neighbouring communities, west of Dumfries, should be a clear priority in any improvement programme on the busy Gretna – Stranraer route.


Mr Jack described confirmation that up to £8million from the UK Government would be invested to identify options to realign the trunk road, including around the villages, as ‘a major step forward.’


He was commenting following a statement in the House of Commons  by UK Transport Secretary Mark Harper, who thanked the Scottish Government for working collaboratively to improve transport connectivity.


The money is being provided to the devolved administration to identify the most effective targeted A75 improvements and a Springholm and Crocketford by-pass has been assessed as a preferred option.


Mr Jack said: “This is a major step forward towards by-passing these villages, which I know will be appreciated by many of my constituents, both local residents and regular road users.
“It will also be welcomed, I feel sure, by hauliers and ferry operators using Cairnryan who will be delighted to see UK Government funding being used by Transport Scotland to identify the most effective potential improvements.”


The local MP, who is also Scottish Secretary, added: “We look forward to continuing to work with the Scottish Government on this ambitious package of proposals to link up the UK much more effectively — boosting our economy, creating jobs and levelling up opportunities around the country.”



Colin Smyth said, “Re-announcing funding everyone already knew about is not good enough and shows the lack of ambition of both the UK and Scottish Governments when it comes to improving the A75.
“We already know where the improvements need to be made and by now there should have been a clear costed plan with a timeline backed by hundreds of millions of pounds to make those improvements, not this pittance which kicks upgrading the road into the long grass.
“It’s clear from this rehash of old news that the utter mismanagement of the public finances by both Governments means there is no money to improve the A75, and both Governments have no actual plans to invest in the transport infrastructure in the southwest”


The UK Government also stated that they would fund Network Rail “to study options for enhancements to improve capacity and journey times on rail services between England and Scotland” but there were no details.

News that the UK Government has given the green light to upgrading the A75 has been warmly welcomed by MSP Finlay Carson.

It was confirmed that it will provide £8 million towards developing options to improve the crucial route to the ferry terminals at Cairnryan.

The funding is aimed at targeting improvements, including by-passes around the villages of Springholm and Crocketford, while alleviating pinch points following the Scottish Government’s identification of a preferred option.

Having campaigned tirelessly to see this key road upgraded, the Galloway and West Dumfries MSP praised the commitment and urged the two Governments to work in tandem to bring about “real progress”.

Mr Carson said: “At last we are beginning to see light at the end of what has been a very long tunnel .
“What we have now is a firm commitment by the UK Government of £8 million to progress the upgrading of the A75 and a promise of even more funding to come.
“Everybody knows the importance of this road, often referred to as a goat track, to both the UK and the Scottish economies yet nothing has been done to improve its reliability and safety record.”

Ironically the funding announcement comes almost a year after the local constituency MSP hosted a public meeting following a spate of accidents on the A75.

Having raised the dangers faced by residents living along the A75 on numerous occasions at Holyrood, Mr Carson believes it is crucial that both the UK and the Scottish Governments embrace the commitment to finally improve the road.

He explained: “There have been many promises made by successive government ministers over the last decade that simply come to nothing.
“Now things are different and there is a real desire especially on the part of the UK Government to make things happen. They realise that serious investment is needed as highlighted in the Union Connectivity Review carried out by Sir Peter Hendy.
“In addition, various economic reports carried out by local authorities, both here and in Northern Ireland along with the ferry operations Stena Line and P&O, have shown the huge benefits being lost.
“As far as I am concerned it is not about party politics. Quite frankly, the people of Dumfries and Galloway don’t care who picks up the bill as long as the A75 is improved and the number of fatal accidents are significantly reduced.”
Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “We are committed to delivering growth opportunities across the United Kingdom, including looking at ways to improve the A75.
“Today we are announcing more investment into projects that will boos connectivity and enhance transport connections across Scotland. These projects will identify schemes that can bring economic benefits to people across the UK.
“I’d like to thank the Scottish Government for working collaboratively with us on these projects and I look forward to continuing to work closely with them on improving UK transport connectivity.”