Colin Smyth MSP
Colin Smyth MSP

South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy & Transport & Rural Affairs Colin Smyth has slammed the Green-SNP Scottish Government after a written parliamentary question revealed it has “no plans” to extend the National Cycle Route to Cairnryan.

At present the route runs from Stranraer but suddenly stops more than a mile from Cairnryan, forcing cyclists to use the busy A77 trunk road. The ‘missing link’ in cycling infrastructure was supposed to be completed as part of a planned A77 Trunk Road Improvement Scheme between Drummuckloch and Innermessan.  However, a Transport Scotland review in 2012 led to the scheme being ditched and excluded from the Scottish Government’s Motorway And Trunk Road Programme published in July 2013 and a decade later the Scottish Government have still failed to bring forward any proposals.

Colin Smyth asked the Scottish Government “what plans it has to extend the National Cycle Network Route 73 between Stranraer and Cairnryan, and whether any steps have been taken to carry out any such extension”.

In a written response, Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights Patrick Harvie said: “The Scottish Government has no direct plans at present to extend the National Cycle Network (NCN) route 73.”

Responding to this, Colin Smyth said: “The utter failure of the Government to extend the national cycle route to Scotland’s largest ferry terminal presents a danger for people who want to cycle when they arrive in Scotland. For someone who arrives at Cairnryan by ferry with their cycle, their route to the nearest town, Stranraer, is along the A77 trunk road, together with 40-tonne lorries coming off the ferry.

“The fact that the Green-SNP Government has no plans to extend route 73 is completely unacceptable.

“Visitors from Northern Ireland have contacted me to say how shocked they are when they arrive at Cairnryan on ferries, especially those on cycle holidays, that there is no cyclepath linking with Scotland’s largest ferry port and nearest town. What a shameful welcome that is to Scotland.

“We know the Greens oppose any meaningful improvements in the A75 and A77 roads but their claim to support better cycling opportunities has been exposed by their failure to back action to fill this gap.

“Transport Scotland actually have a plan ready to go but for the past three years we have been told we have to wait on the outcome of the Scottish Government’s Strategic Transport Projects Review before any projects are taken forward, even one as simple as this. That review has now been published and we are still no further forward with no plans from the Government.

“Once again, we see an example of a lack of investment in the south west, we really are the forgotten region of Scotland where national governments are concerned. It is simply not good enough and I will continue to fight for decent investment in infrastructure in our region.”

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