Local MP Richard Arkless has spoken of his outrage following a recent exchange in the House of Commons between himself and the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling.
The Secretary of State admitted in the House that he had no idea that the A75 was a designated Euro-route.
Mr Arkless had asked during a Topical Questions session on transport if the Secretary of State could assure constituents in Dumfries and Galloway that the Secretary of State would support the continued designation of the A75 as a Euro-route after the UK leaves the European Union.
Mr Graying responded by saying: “I have to confess that I have never heard anyone in this country, north or south of the border, refer to an A road in the United Kingdom as a Euro-route. If they cease to be Euro-routes after we leave the European Union, I suspect that we will be able to count the number of people who miss that on the fingers of one hand.”
The A75 forms part of the international E-road, European route E18 which runs from Craigavon in Northern Ireland, through Scotland, Norway, Sweden and Finland before ending in St Peterburg, Russia.
Scotland only has a small number of roads that are designated Euro-routes and the A75/E18 is unique in that it does not link to any major Scottish city. It is an essential transport route for goods travelling from mainland Britain to and from Northern Ireland.
Being a Euro-route heightens a road’s status and can be used to sell the area abroad or push for further investment, which Mr Arkless says is ‘absolutely necessary’ adding, ‘that job is hard enough without being stripped of a useful international designation’.
Mr Arkless said: “I was shocked that the Transport Secretary did not know or seem to care about the Euro-route designation of the A75. It seems that there is a great deal of misunderstanding around Euro-route designations within the UK Government and the lack of appetite for them was evident in the response I received from the Minister last week. Euro-routes are frequently considered EU routes – they are not – they are the designated main roads across the European continent and they provide easy access and identification for the haulage industry.”