SNP Ministers urged to seize A1 feasibility study offer

County MSP Iain Gray is urging Scottish Ministers to seize the opportunity presented in this week’s UK Budget to extend the feasibility study on possible improvements to the A1 north of Newcastle further north into Scotland.

The Budget Red Book, the document that sets out the details of the Government’s spending plans, indicates this will be possible if the Scottish Government agrees to help fund the study. On page 86 of the Red Book it states: ‘A1 Newcastle to Edinburgh – The government is offering to extend the feasibility study on possible improvements to the A1 north of Newcastle further north into Scotland, if the Scottish government will match fund the costs of this study.’

Local authorities, safety campaigners and business groups have been campaigning to extend the scope of the study to include the section of the A1 in Scotland, so far without success. They believe that such a study could help to strengthen the case for improving the single carriageway section of road between the border and East Lothian, where accidents are three times more likely to occur than on sections that are dualled.

Iain Gray MSP said:

“A range of organisations and campaigners, including East Lothian Council and the A1 Action Group, have been making a strong case for a feasibility study on improving the A1 between the border and East Lothian, in the interests of safety, business and tourism.

“It’s disappointing that SNP Ministers have so far refused to listen to this case. However, the UK Government’s Budget offer to extend the study into Scotland presents a new opportunity for the Scottish Government to listen to the widespread concerns expressed about this section of the A1 and rethink its stance on exploring potential improvements.

“I hope that Ministers will now seize this opportunity and enter into a positive dialogue with their UK counterparts about extending the feasibility study and reviewing all of the possible options for upgrading this section of the A1.”