Berwickshire residents against railway says poll

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An overwhelming majority of people in Berwickshire think the proposed Borders Railway is a waste of money, according to a new opinion poll.

The poll, conducted at the Berwickshire County Show, held recently in Duns, and two other agricultural shows in the Borders over the summer, asked the question: “Will the proposed Borders Railway be good value for money?”

At Duns 94 per cent answered ‘No’, with only six per cent saying ‘Yes’.

The figures across the Borders were 87 per cent ‘No’ and 13 per cent ‘Yes’.

Construction of the new ‘Waverley Line’ from Edinburgh to Galashiels and Tweedbank is yet to begin in earnest, but costs have already escalated from an initial estimate of £129.6 million, to a currently estimated £325 million.

The project has experienced a number of setbacks in recent months, with two consortia bidding for the contract to build the railway pulling out, leaving only one in the frame.

The poll was conducted by the Borders Party, which is opposed to the railway project in its current form. Respondents took part in a secret ballot at the Borders Party stand at the recent shows in Duns, Kelso and Peebles.

Councillor Nicholas Watson, the Borders Party leader, told The Berwickshire News: “Most people in Berwickshire and elsewhere in the Borders are highly sceptical of this project, as this poll and others have shown.

“The cost of £300 million and rising is too high a price for a railway that lacks economic and environmental justification.

“Scarce public funds should be directed at more worthwhile projects. Upgrading our road links and improved broadband would be of far greater benefit to the Borders.”