Bosses at Stena Line have slammed the lack of investment in the roads to and from Cairnryan and have claimed that events over the weekend, which saw the A77 close for almost 24hrs due to severe flooding, will reoccur in the future if the current lack of investment in road improvements continues.
At 4pm on Saturday afternoon, Police took the decision to close the A77 due to severe flooding 2 miles south of Loch Ryan Port. As one of the main arterial routes to and from the ports of Loch Ryan and Cairnryan, the 24 hrs closure caused major disruption in the area for freight and tourism traffic using the ports as well as local people living in the area.
Paul Grant, Stena Line’s Trade Director (Irish Sea North) said: “Once more, our port operations have been disrupted as a result of the years of neglect of the main roads in the area so it’s inevitable that during spells of bad weather with the roads unable to cope, key port facilities such as Stena Line’s Loch Ryan Port are effectively are put into ‘lock down’ mode.
“It’s quite clear from this and other incidents that the current A77 and A75 don’t reflect the requirements fitting of a major UK – Ireland travel and freight hub so I’m afraid that major disruptions and loss of trade could be a feature of life in the region until those responsible commit the necessary resources to alleviate these recurring problems.
“As the third largest port gateway in the UK, it seems incredible that Loch Ryan is still unable to attract the support and investment other UK ports have been able to secure to help them meet the increasing demands placed upon them. Incidents like the weekend put a sharp focus on the limitations of the current road infrastructure in the region and we would urge local politicians to work with us to help the people and economy of South West Scotland get the road network they now desperately deserve. Stena Line have invested approx. £250 million in its Cairnryan – Belfast route and this commitment needs to be reciprocated. Freight and travel customers need to be able to get to their markets safely and without disruptions. The peripheral and isolated nature of Cairnryan needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.”