For almost 20 years I have been raising concerns about the safety of the A1 in East Lothian, after the death of a day job client at the cement plant junction in November 2001, when the vehicle he was travelling in was hit by a speeding Porsche.

This has been as a member of the public, Dunbar community councillor and East Lothian councillor for Dunbar and East Linton ward from 2007 to 2012.

My concerns have long been echoed by members of the public, local groups and local community councils along the A1 corridor.

I have been a long-standing attendee at the A1 Action Group Meetings, where concerns about the A1 have been raised – particularly the need for dualling and improvements to junction safety, including lighting, speed restriction and construction of on/off access.

Over the years, the meetings have been told of improvements in Berwickshire, including LED cat’s eyes and improved junctions.

Investment has been made in the west of East Lothian. However, requests for improvements around Dunbar have not been successful.

Reasons for refusal include not a bad enough fatal accident history, and that the cost of lighting/LED cat’s eyes/junction upgrade is too expensive.

The action group last met in December 2019. After requests to East Lothian Council, it is due to meet again on Friday.

Throughout 2020, requests have been made to Transport Scotland by Dunbar and West Barns community councils and Hallhill TRA for a meeting to discuss the junction safety at Belhaven.

Iain Gray MSP has also had correspondence with the Transport Minister.

Transport Scotland did meet with ELC officers in June 2020 but community members did not find out until afterwards.

The concerns of local residents need to be heard. It is local residents who use the roads on a daily basis and can speak from experience.

Richard Perry, of Transport Scotland, has offered an online discussion later in November. This is to be welcomed.

It is essential that Transport Scotland engages with local communities in East Lothian who have concerns about safety along the A1.

The local population is increasing and this is putting added pressure on the A1 corridor. During 2020, proposals have been made for further developments around Dunbar, which will add to traffic both on the trunk road and at the already busy access points from the town. These include 250 Taylor Wimpey houses at Hallhill North, DunBear Park and the Viridor plastics recycling facility at Oxwellmains.

As noted above, past representations to Transport Scotland have been met too frequently by the response that the areas of concern do not have a significant fatal accident record.

There have been fatalities and serious injuries over the years.

It should not take others to be hurt before investment is made to make the road safer.

Jacquie Bell