Cross-party group is on the right road

Councillors and MSP meet to discuss vital improvementss to the A68 ' Local Elected Members Cllr K Baird (SNP), Cllr J Hackett (LAB), C Beattie MSP (SNP), and Cllr P Smaill (CON)
Councillors and MSP meet to discuss vital improvementss to the A68 ' Local Elected Members Cllr K Baird (SNP), Cllr J Hackett (LAB), C Beattie MSP (SNP), and Cllr P Smaill (CON)
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In a show of cross-party unity local MSP Colin Beattie and the three ward councillors for Midlothian East have joined together to discuss improvements to the A68.

The A68 Focus Group has been in existence for some years and has achieved reduced speed limits on the busy road through the local villages including in Pathhead.

More recently it has been tackling safety issues along the A68 and has expanded its membership to draw in stakeholders across the board.

Group chairman, MSP Colin Beattie (SNP), said: “We now have political support for our communities across party lines plus representatives from all the villages, Transport Scotland, Amey, Midlothian Council, Police Scotland, community councils and other local groups.

“Now we must work hard with our partners to deliver improved safety along the route of the A68 where there have been a disturbing number of safety incidents over the past years.

“We also have the attention of the Transport Minister, Humza Yousuf MSP in support of our efforts.”

Councillor John Hackett (Lab) said: “The A68 is part of Scotland’s national road network but more importantly for residents, it is the local road which connects families, friends and communities.

“Traffic in Midlothian is expected to increase by 25 per cent over the next five years. It is important for our local councillors and MSPs to work together to meet the challenges this will bring and work with communities and the Scottish Government on long-term solutions to improve safety.”

Councillor Kenneth Baird (SNP) added: “Having a major trunk road running through a village brings challenges and safety concerns for all local residents, it’s important that these issues are addressed as a priority. Safety for children and our most vulnerable should be our primary focus.”

Councillor Peter Smaill (Con) said: “UK government research estimates the cost of a fatal road accident at an average £2 million per occurrence.

“Quite apart from the paramount importance of human life and the impacts of bereavement, there is seemingly a good economic case for Transport Scotland to invest in improving the notoriously dangerous stretches of the A68.”

With this solid cross party commitment, the A68 Focus Group will now be hoping to do more to improve the road.