Sheriffhall delay confirmed by First Minister

Thursday March 12th 2020

Sheriffhall Roundabout

Written by Midlothian View reporter, Luke Jackson

Today at First Minister’s Questions (FMQs), Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that the Scottish Government will delay plans to expand the Sheriffhall Roundabout and will possibly scrap the project following a review into the plans.

The Scottish Government announced the flyover plans in 2017 in a bid to tackle congestion and long delays on the A720 City Bypass.

However, as a result of their budget negotiations with the Scottish Green Party, the SNP Government has rolled back its support for the expansion citing environmental concerns.

South Scotland MSP, Michelle Ballantyne, grilled the First Minister over her plans to delay the expansion, questioning whether the delay was temporary and whether the flyover will go ahead at a future date.

Nicola Sturgeon responded by highlighting the Scottish Government’s environmental commitments, insisting that the Scottish Government will further consult with stakeholders before making a final decision, however, would not comment on when this decision would be made.

Transport Scotland estimates that 78,000 people used the bypass in 2014, and that this is set to grow to 88,000 by 2022.

Local SNP MSPs, Christine Grahame and Colin Beattie have also voiced their concern with their own party’s actions.

Michelle Ballantyne blasted the Scottish Government for its ‘near-sighted negotiations’ and suggested it highlights that the government is ‘out-of-touch’ with its constituents.

Michelle Ballantyne MSP commented:

“After a decade of consultations, outreach and planning, the SNP are now shelving the plans in favour of near-sighted negotiations and dodgy deals with the Scottish Greens.

“The Bypass is in urgent need of expansion. Many of my constituents in the Borders and Midlothian rely on the Edinburgh City Bypass at Sheriffhall Roundabout to access the city, as do many public transport users.

“It has been discouraging to see that not only is the First Minister ignoring the advice of stakeholders, businesses and commuters, but also the advice of her own MSPs. This all points towards a Scottish Government that’s out-of-touch with the needs of its constituents and more interested in pleasing the Greens than improving the lives of south Scotland residents and I’d advise the First Minister to urgently reconsider.”

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