East Lothian Courier – 2 March 2023


The lack of progress on the A9 and A96 was in the news. The delays are a blow to the North and North-East. The Scottish Governments handling of them, and explanation have been poor.

But what about other critical infrastructure projects and ones much closer for East Lothian, the A1 and the East Coast Main Line (ECML). Lack of progress there’s even more scandalous, and it’s the UK Government which is in the frame for blame. Both those projects are vital. The A1 has been needing upgrading for decades now and the lack of capacity on the ECML’s hindering improvements to current and potentially new services.

Boris Johnson commissioned the Union Connectivity Review (UCR) to consider infrastructure projects across the UK. It was most remembered for “Boris’s Bridge” an idea to link Scotland to Northern Ireland. That was never going to be feasible but the cross-border links between Scotland and England and in particular the A1 and ECML are both badly needed and perfectly doable.

Yet questions to the UK Transport Department show no progress on either. It doesn’t exculpate the Scottish Government but given the UCR pledges the blame and indeed where the funds rest is in London. Despite widespread opposition there’s cash to press on with HSL and investment in the London tube network has been massive.

The A1 like the A9 isn’t a safe road and changes are needed to improve journeys. The HGV traffic will only increase with renewable energy projects and for that reason alone cash being raked in by the Treasury should be freed up for it.

Similarly, enhancement of the rail network’s required if only to address climate change. Yet services have been reducing for communities such as Dunbar and access from other stations has been limited. The problem on the line is capacity. With new Edinburgh to London services additional track’s needed and that offers an opportunity for a Haddington/Blindwells station.

As the renewable energy wealth comes ashore and continues to turn on the Lammermuirs, its time that these projects were done. It’s time East Lothian got some cash from its energy wealth.