Transport in Dumfries & Galloway: What next?

The A75. Credit: ITV Border

More than a month after Dumfries and Galloway hosted Scotland's first transport summit, campaigners are calling for the Scottish Government to commit to transport upgrades in the region.

A wide range of local issues were discussed at the event in August, which was hosted by Deputy First Minister John Swinney and chaired by Transport Minister Humza Yousaf.

Concerns were raised about the A75, which connects Gretna to Loch Ryan, one of the busiest ports in the UK.

Campaigners say more of the road should be made into a dual carriageway, to help the flow of traffic and improve safety.

Local residents in Crocketford and Springholm, two villages along the route, also raised concerns about the volume of traffic, including heavy goods vehicles, passing through their communities.

They want a bypass to be built around the villages to improve their safety and quality of life.

Campaigners are calling for a bypass around two villages along the A75. Credit: ITV Border

Other topics of discussion included suggestions that there should be better links between Dumfries and the M74, as well as upgrades to the A76 and A77.

There were complaints that the railway links between Dumfries and Galloway and Cumbria, as well as the Central Belt, should be improved.

Concerns were also raised about the future of rural bus routes in the region.

  • What is being done about those concerns?

The Scottish Government says it's committed to looking into these concerns, and how to improve transport infrastructure in Dumfries and Galloway, as part of a wider review of its National Transport Strategy.

In a draft report published following the Transport Summit, it has also promised to carry out a traffic management survey for Crocketford and Springholm.

However, some local campaigners say Transport Scotland should commit to improvements now, rather than carrying out more studies.

That argument is supported by Oliver Mundell, Conservative MSP for Dumfriesshire.

I felt the transport summit was a really big missed opportunity, we had lots of warm words, and every official it seemed in Dumfries and Galloway and from the Scottish Government down to talk about the issues. But I think it must be the first event in history where the Scottish Government have come to do something like that and not actually announced any new money.

Oliver Mundell MSP

However, the SNP MSP for the South of Scotland, Joan McAlpine, says studies are necessary.

It's easy to make headlines and shout and moan, but there's a process that you have to go through, and one of the reasons why Dumfries and Galloway has lost out in the past is that local political leadership did not go through that process. So this is an opportunity to say well these are our priorities. Let's get studies done on these so that when the money is there, they can be ready to go.

Joan McAlpine MSP
  • Have your say

You can read the full Transport Summit draft report here, and can have your say about the plans here.

The closing date for comments is 31 October 2016.