There are many people in the community, myself included, who have been calling for improvements for a long time with lobbying of local authority officers, politicians and Transport Scotland. Upgrade of the A1 was a key message when I stood for East Lothian Council (ELC) in 2022.
As an East Lothian Councillor, it was in 2007 that Paul McLennan and I met in Morpeth with the then leader of Northumberland Council, Jeff Reid, and discussed the benefits to upgrading of the A1 both sides of the Border.
An A1 Action Group, hosted by East Lothian Council, was established bringing together politicians, community reps, hauliers, Transport Scotland, SESTRANS and others. It covered Scottish Borders and East Lothian and discussion also had updates on the Northumberland scene. It met 6 monthly. Some improvements were seen and in the pipeline e.g. junction upgrades near Queen Margaret University and wind warning signs on the East Linton viaduct and more were called for, particularly junction improvements at places like Belhaven, Innerwick and Reston.
The Mission Statement of that group read-
“To share, develop and where appropriate, to lobby and assist the Scottish Government and their agencies in the development and delivery of proposals to enhance the A1 Trunk Road to address road safety concerns, improve journey times, enhance rural accessibility and reduce vehicle emissions through improved network resilience and reliability.”
The group did not meet for some time after Covid and the ELC Officer involved moved post. The last meeting of which I am aware was on 15th December 2022.
The concerns about the inadequacy of the A1 between Dunbar and the Border continue. There are frequent accidents, particularly at some of the blackspot junctions like Innerwick, Skateraw and the Dunbar cement works. Concerns are also increasing with the volume of proposals for energy projects around Dunbar and the Lammermuirs. These will involve many HGVs on the road and using the junctions to the sites. Add to these the lorries going to Viridor and the Valencia landfill. Many of those going to Viridor are from Lanarkshire, the Clyde Valley and Highland. The Highland vehicles also use the A9 which is also way behind on upgrading.
I spoke with Mhairi McAllan, Scottish Government Minister at the Cabinet meeting in Haddington and noted the concerns. She told me there was no money to dual the A1. I pointed out that even if dualling were not possible investment in junction improvements to improve safety was urgently needed at the accident blackspots. It was suggested that monies for such improvements might come from developer contributions through the Planning System, rather than Scottish Government investment.
Thus, community lobbying of the Scottish Government as well as local politicians and Council officers to upgrade the A1 before further people are injured or killed remains of vital  importance.

Chaos at Bankton Junction

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