OFFICIALS in South Ayrshire have called for urgent action to dual the A77 between Ayr and Stranraer.

Local government officials from South Ayrshire, Dumfries and Galloway, and the Mid Antrim and East Antrim authorities in Northern Ireland, say that dualling the A77 - and also the A75 between Stranraer and Gretna - would bring £5bn in "positive benefits" to the UK's economy.

A 'strategic and economic impacts report' commissioned by the four councils, says that dualling the two trunk roads would cut vehicle operating costs by £700 million - and would also result in combined 'CO2e' (carbon dioxide equivalent) savings of around £95m.

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The roads are mainly single carriageway, with heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) restricted to a 40mph speed limit, often causing heavy tailbacks and increasing the risk of accidents.

The review says the UK Government should offer the Scottish Government funding to upgrade the A75 - and encouraged the Scottish Government to improve the A77.

Councillor Martin Dowey, leader of South Ayrshire Council, said: “This is a call to action for the Scottish Government.

"These proposals could not only save lives but would generate billions of pounds of transformational benefits.

“We have deliberately included a number of localised solutions such as a bypass-only option, but it’s clear that these smaller fixes would not generate the same impact as full dualling.

"This option combined with rail improvements would vastly reduce journey times and greatly benefit transport users, businesses, and the working population.

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“I would encourage the Scottish and UK Governments to read the report and engage with us to find workable solutions.”

Rail improvements are also considered in the report, including dedicated freight facilities at Barrhill, Cairnryan and Ayr.

The report estimates that purely diesel trains running from Stranraer to Birmingham could save over 20-million-kilogram of CO2e per year compared to moving the equivalent load by HGV.

View the full report online at