Transport links vital to Borders business

The A1 (north from Lamberton bridge)
The A1 (north from Lamberton bridge)

Better transport links across the Borders are vital to local businesses and they are top of the agenda for the first meeting of the newly formed Scottish Borders Business Forum.

Coldstream’s Graham Bell, from the Federation of Small Businesses, will chair the ‘business breakfast’ meeting on Saturday, September 14, from 9-11am which looks at transport issues and what improvements would best benefit and support Borders businesses.

A member of SEStran (South East Scotland Transport Partnership), Graham explains why it is so important to get to grips with and highlight transport issues in the region: “I am delighted to chair this meeting which I am sure will have very constructive outcomes.

“Connectivity in a dispersed rural community is vital to our economic health. The chance for individual business people to hear from experts and question the state of our infrastructure and its future development is very welcome.”

Bruce Simpson of the Scottish Borders Chamber of Commerce added: “Transport is a basic part of business infrastructure. If we are to compete with other areas of Scotland and the UK we must, at least, compete on a level playing field, and in transport terms, we are failing. The return of Borders Rail is a definite plus, but more can and must be done in the field of transport to assist our business economy.”

In Berwickshire, dualling of the A1 and the re-opening of Reston Station have long been called for as essential to keeping the county connected to the rest of the country, but despite the prolonged campaign and support from Scottish Parliament and Westminster politicians, the wait for both goes on.

Mike Wilson of the Scottish Borders Exporters Association said: “Dual carriageways and passing areas on the main routes are important developments that will speed up the movement of goods throughout the Scottish Borders and ease congestion.”

At next week’s meeting questions can be put to the team of panellists about what the Scottish Government’s transport plans are in the Borders. Speakers include: Robert Young, Scottish Borders Council; Peter Lloyd, Transport Scotland, Rail Policy Executive; Philip Flanders, Road Haulage Association; and a representative from Network Rail.

If you are interested in attending this meeting please could you confirm your attendance before Tuesday, September 10, by contacting: Moira Deacon by email at: MDeacon@scotborders.gov.uk or 01835 824000 Ext 5078.