South Scotland

Scottish Borders transport improvement options drawn-up

Bus Image copyright Scottish government
Image caption The study looked at all transport issues across the Scottish Borders

A string of options for future transport improvements in the Scottish Borders has been drawn up.

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said the final report of the Borders Transport Corridors Study Pre-Appraisal fulfilled a commitment to the area.

Extending the Borders Railway and improvements to the A1, A7 and A68 are among options to explore further.

However, MP John Lamont said the report was a "complete flop" which would "kick the issue into the long grass".

The study looked at hundreds of options to upgrade transport in the south east of the country.

It has now narrowed that down to 21 which will be examined as part of Transport Scotland's wider nationwide project review.

The study concluded better bus services, enhanced park and ride and more active travel options could bring benefits.

Image copyright Dougie Johnston
Image caption Extending the Borders Railway is among the options on the table

Further consideration will also be given to improving the rail and road infrastructure.

It will include potential work on the A1, A7 and A68 and extending the Borders Railway.

Mr Matheson said: "The Borders Transport Corridors Study fulfils our commitment to consider the future transport needs of the area.

"We have already committed to rail stations at East Linton and Reston and these will be delivered as part of work to improve capacity to Edinburgh.

"We will now go on to consider a further 21 options as part of the Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2), which is being taken forward during the lifetime of this Parliament."

He said that would guide investment in Scotland's infrastructure over the next two decades.

'Crying out'

"The recommendations made in this study - which are underpinned by detailed evidence on problems and opportunities - will help ensure the case is made for improvements in the Borders," he added.

However, Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk Conservative MP Mr Lamont said he believed Borderers would feel "let down" by the report.

"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," he said.

"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."

He said the Scottish government needed to "stop writing reports" and get on with delivering "vital projects" the region needed.

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