Scottish Government’s Borders Transport Study described as a flop

The Scottish Government’s Transport Agency has published a long awaited report into transport in the Borders, but it has been described as a ‘flop’ by local MP John Lamont.

Ahead of the Scottish Parliament elections in 2016, the First Minister went to Hawick in March to promise a feasibility study into the cost of extending the Borders Railway to Hawick.

A draft Borders Transport Corridors – Pre Appraisal Study Report was published in March 2017, which listed a series of options for improving transport links in the Borders.

Now the full report has been published, which rather than making a series of recommendations merely contains almost the same set of options “which could be subject to more detailed appraisal.” The suggestions include bringing the Borders Railway to Hawick, linking it up to the East Coast Mainline or in the North, joining it with the Fife Circle Line. Other suggestions include improving bus links, particularly East-West links across the Borders, dualling or improving safety along the A1, A68 and A7 and creating Park and Ride facilities.

The Scottish Government now intends to consider these options as part of a Scotland wide transport review over the next few years.

John Lamont MP has said that Borderers will feel let down that three years after being promised a full feasibility study into extending the Borders Railway, the Scottish Government are no further forward.

Commenting, John Lamont MP said: “Many Borderers will look a this report and conclude it is a complete flop. This is classic SNP – promise the world just before an election then kick the issue in to the long grass.

“It has taken three years to produce the snappily titled ‘Borders Transport Corridors Pre Appraisal Study Report’ yet all we have to show for it is a wish list of projects which the Scottish Government may or may not consider at a unspecified date.

“The Borders is crying out for investment and for action to be taken. For years, we’ve been promised a feasibility study for the Borders Railway, a new station in Reston and decent investment in our major roads, but nothing has happened.

“The Scottish Government needs to stop writing reports and instead get on with the vital projects we need in the Borders like bringing the Borders Railway on to Hawick, Newcastleton and Carlisle, dualling the A1 and delivering Reston station.”