Poll confirms significant public support for action as new South West Scotland Transport Alliance holds an event at Scottish Parliament
More than 90% 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 by the newly-branded South West Scotland Transport Alliance (SWSTA) shows the swell of support across the region for significant action.
The statistics further strengthen the case that widespread works would improve safety, boost the economy and help the environment.
Details have been released as the SWSTA concludes a three-day exhibition in the Scottish Parliament which is highlighting the case for upgrades to MSPs.
The poll of residents across Dumfries and Galloway, South Ayrshire and East Ayrshire found that:
93% of people want full or partial upgrades of the A75 and A77
More than three-quarters (76%) want those upgrades for safety reasons
More than six in 10 (61%) of those surveyed think the current transport network puts off investment
About half believe the network puts off tourists (48%) and stops people living in the region (53%)
Nearly three-quarters (72%) 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, Trade Director, Irish Sea, at 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.”
Belfast Harbour Port Director Michael Robinson said: “There’s been no shortage of criticism from residents, tourists, hauliers, businesses and politicians about these roads. We have 21st century ports, serviced by 20th century roads.
“The A75 and A77 are key arterial routes for the economy of South West Scotland, but also to Northern Ireland and England. It’s in everyone’s interests that they become safer, more reliable and environmentally friendly. It’s important that everyone works together in order to achieve this.”
The SWSTA began exhibiting to MSPs in the Scottish Parliament’s Garden Lobby on Tuesday.
A recent independent report commissioned by Dumfries and Galloway, South Ayrshire and Mid and East Antrim Councils found that dualling both trunk roads would bring £5bn of “positive benefits” to the UK economy.