Greater efforts need to be made to improve transport links across the England-Scotland border, local MP John Lamont has said today in Parliament.
Speaking at Scotland Office Questions, the MP asked what work was being done by Scotland’s two Governments on cross-border infrastructure projects, such as the extension of the Borders Rail, the dualling of the A1 all the way from Newcastle to Edinburgh and improvements to the A68 and A7.
With transport fully devolved, the Scottish Government is in charge of road and rail links within Scotland, while the UK Government retains control over transport in England. This leads to any infrastructure investment from either Government ‘stopping at the border’.
The UK Government is committed to dualing the A1 to the Border, as part of a £300m investment programme, but there was no discussion with the Scottish Government about establishing a joint programme to improve the whole route up to Edinburgh.
Speaking in Parliament, John said that many Borderers work across the Border and many businesses rely on staff and customers coming from England, so better cross border connectivity is really important.
In response, the Under Secretary of State, Stuart Andrew MP said that connectivity was crucial “right across the United Kingdom” and that Borderers “quite rightly expect that the UK Government commits to working closely and constructively with the Scottish Government so we had a joined-up approach.
Speaking afterwards, John Lamont MP, said: “Workers, customers and visitors need to cross the border on a daily basis and better transport links are vital. The current situation is madness, with investment from either Government all too often stopping at the Border.
“The A1 for example doesn’t stop at a lay-by near Lamberton, it is a vital link between Edinburgh and Newcastle and should be considered as a single infrastructure project.
“Any investment being done on cross border routes benefits residents and businesses in both England and Scotland, so we need to get better at co-ordinating this investment.
“I was pleased that the UK Government recognises the importance of working with the Scottish Government on this. The Borderlands Growth Deal is the perfect opportunity to reset this relationship and bring forward some serious improvement in cross border transport links.”