Sheriffhall flyover report due by June

Thursday April 13th 2023


Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Eric Kliszcz

Discussions about the grade separation of the Sheriffhall roundabout have been rolling on for years. An inquiry hearing objections against the planned Sheriffhall flyover concluded in February and now Scottish government ministers are expected to make a final decision later this year on the long-delayed project.

The £120 million development, aimed at improving traffic congestion levels, has been plagued with delays and opposition since it received funding in 2018, with work being paused in 2020 after the Scottish Greens called for a review of the project.

A public inquiry hearing objections from members of the public against the planned flyover was subsequently carried out, which concluded in February 2023.

According to the latest information from the Planning and Environmental Division of the Scottish Government a report is being drafted so that it can be issued by 28th June 2023.

Among the objectors who took part in the inquiry was a group that had set up a fundraiser opposing the flyover, raising over half of its intended target.

The Sheriffhall Overarching Objectors (ShOO) raised £5,235 – of an original £8,000 goal – to hire a team of environmental and legal experts to help present the case against the project, according to the group’s fundraising webpage.

It argues that the planned flyover would generate more traffic and that its construction would “involve immense carbon emissions, primarily through the consumption of diesel oil, concrete and steel.”

“The scheme makes no significant or genuine contribution towards the rapid carbon reductions required to meet the targets of the Scottish Climate Change Act,” ShOO’s fundraising page said, adding that “immediate reductions in emissions are essential to avoid catastrophic climate change.”

Conservative MSP Craig Hoy, who represents the South Scotland region, criticised the fundraiser.

“The Greens and the Sheriffhall Overarching Objectors must drop this misguided fundraiser as it runs in direct opposition to local residents interests and environmental sustainability across the Lothians,” said a statement from Mr Hoy’s office when reached for comment.

Defending the planned flyover, Mr Hoy said that “Sheriffhall roundabout has become increasingly problematic in recent years due to substantial population growth in West Lothian, Midlothian and East Lothian.”

“Hour long queues on the A720 are bad for commuters, bad for the economy and bad for the environment, not to mention reducing emergency service response times across the Lothians as more people drive into Edinburgh to avoid logjams on the city’s bypass,” he went on to say.

Colin Beattie, Scottish National Party MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, also commented in favour of the planned development, saying that the new flyover would improve cycling and public transport links.

“The current proposals have been reviewed to see whether they needed to be changed to provide better facilities for active travel and public transport, and it was determined that the current design is the most appropriate,” Mr Beattie said. “Transport Scotland further confirmed that there are extensive footway and cycleway facilities, which means that pedestrians and cyclists will not have to cross the roundabout physically.”

“Works are required and have been needed for many years – this is a longstanding issue that some are determined to prolong,” he added.

You can view the evidence collated by the inquiry HERE.

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