Call for up­grad­ing work

The Galloway News - - FRONT PAGE - Stu­art McFar­lane

Dum­fries and Gal­loway MP Alis­ter Jack yes­ter­day warned that a lack of in­vest­ment in the A75 could threaten the jobs of those who de­pend on the re­gion’s main port.

Mr Jack, speak­ing in a West­min­ster de­bate, called for ma­jor im­prove­ments to the Euro­route which car­ries around 45 per cent of North­ern Ire­land’s trade with the rest of the UK via Cairn­ryan.

The MP said: “This trunk road is a key artery of Dum­fries and Gal­loway’s lo­cal econ­omy and I fear that if we do not see a sus­tained pro­gramme of up­grades to the A75 in the very near fu­ture then it will have a detri­men­tal so­cial and eco­nomic ef­fect, some­thing that my con­stituency can ill-af­ford.

“The port of Cairn­ryan is home to two in­ter­na­tional ferry com­pa­nies which op­er­ate fer­ries to and from Belfast and Larne in North­ern Ire­land. It is a route of strate­gic eco­nomic im­por­tance and a ma­jor hub for freight and tourism move­ment.”

He fears haulage com­pa­nies will start to aban­don the route and switch to the al­ter­na­tive be­tween the Welsh port of Holy­head and Dublin un­less sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment is made in the A75.

He added: “Poor road links to and from the ports is put­ting them at an ex­treme dis­ad­van­tage and, in turn, threat­en­ing the jobs and liveli­hoods that de­pend on th­ese ports.”

Mr Jack re­vealed that Trans­port Sec­re­tary Chris Grayling had agreed to visit the re­gion and see the is­sues on the route for him­self.

Stena Line’s trade direc­tor for the area, Paul Grant, added: “Ac­cess to and from Scot­tish ports is severely lack­ing com­pared with other UK hubs.

“Lo­cal politi­cians need to en­gage with other stake­hold­ers to get the Scot­tish and West­min­ster gov­ern­ments to work col­lab­o­ra­tively to push for a fit for pur­pose road net­work sys­tem.”

The Freight Trade As­so­ci­a­tion is also call­ing for in­vest­ment on the A75, turn to page seven for more.

In­vest­ment needed The A75 road

Job fears MP Alis­ter Jack claims liveli­hoods could be at risk un­less the A75 is up­graded

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