DUMFRIES AND GALLOWAY Council’s Communities committee [17 September 2019] will consider a report on the initial appraisal for the South West Scotland Transport Study.
The Council Plan 2017-22 includes a commitment to ‘invest in our key infrastructure’ and ‘lobby for investment in key local transport infrastructure including dualling, where appropriate, of the A75, A76, A77, A7 and a better link between Dumfries and the M74’.
The Scottish Government included a commitment to a second Strategic Transport Projects Review [STPR2] and road improvements in Dumfries in Galloway in its Programme for Government 2016-17 and 2017-18.
Data analysis and public/stakeholder engagement in the first stage in the Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance [STAG] process, researching the case for investment, has identified evidence of key transport problems:
• Average journey times
• Journey time reliability
• Environmental impact
These findings have informed Transport Planning Objectives [TPOs] for South West Scotland:
• reduce journey times to the ports at Cairnryan
• reduce accident rates and the severity of accidents on the trunk road network
• improve the resilience of the strategic transport network
• improve journey quality across the road, public transport, and active travel networks
• improve connectivity for communities to key economic, education, health and cultural centres, including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Ayr, Kilmarnock and Carlisle
Subsequently, a range of 23 option packages have been identified for further appraisal.
The next step is a qualitative options appraisal, assessing impacts, policy directives, feasibility, affordability, and public acceptability.
Councillor Andy Ferguson, chair of the Communities committee, said: “Building the local economy is a priority for our Council. For too long, South West Scotland has been overlooked when it comes to investment in transport infrastructure. If our region is to progress, thrive and prosper, it’s essential that we get our fair share of investment.”
Councillor John Martin, vice-chair, said: “Good transport links are essential for this region. Businesses and the public deserve better than some of the very poor transport links in our region. It is vital that we’re given the resources to improve transport links to Ireland, England and the Scottish central belt, otherwise we’ll be increasingly marginalised.”