HC Deb 31 March 1993 vol 222 cc350-2
15. Mr. William Ross

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what proposals he has to provide a dual carriageway on the A75 between Stranraer and Gretna Green.

Mr. Lang

At the present time, there are no proposals to provide a dual carriageway on the A75. The A75 was substantially upgraded during the 1980s and schemes planned for future years on this route will improve safety and overtaking opportunities further.

Mr. Ross

Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate how much the great improvements on that road over the years have been welcomed by people from Northern Ireland? Does he agree that due to the success of the Larne-Stranraer and Larne-Cairnryan routes, the increase in the volume of traffic has overwhelmed the speed of improvement on that important Euroroute? Does he recognise that a high-quality infrastructure of roads is necessary for development? Will he, therefore, make every effort to install as much dual carriageway as possible on that route in the near future? If money is available from Europe, when he is looking for it—as I hope he will—will he take with him his right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and treat the road through to Belfast as one Euroroute? That is the best way to approach the whole problem.

Mr. Lang

I understand absolutely the point that the hon. Gentleman makes. As I am sure he will appreciate, he and I have a great affinity of interest in the matter. We have spent substantial sums on the route—about £85 million has been spent on the A75 since the Government came to office, and we have further plans for continuing work on the road. We are upgrading the A74 to motorway standard and we also have plans to spend more resources on the A76 and the A77. I share the hon. Gentleman's view about the importance of a good infrastructure, and it is something to which I am committed.