Clydesdale’s regional Conservative MSP Brian Whittle has riled local Greens by accusing them of sabotaging much-needed rural road repair and building plans.
He warned the SNP government not to cave into Green Party demands for more emphasis on public transport in their forthcoming budget as the price of voting it through Holyrood.
The Tory MSP claimed: “If the Scottish Government agreed to the Greens demands, not only would it be a slap in the face for people in South Scotland who have watched on as other parts of Scotland have had billions of pounds spent on road improvements, it would be the worst kind of gesture environmentalism.
“We need to take action on climate change, but there are better ways to do it than proposing to condemn drivers to trunk roads that are in desperate need of upgrading.
“I want to see better rail links, better public transport, but I also recognise that improving roads can have real environmental benefits – reducing emissions in towns with more bypasses, cutting congestion and journey times with more overtaking opportunities, reducing the need for road closures and long diversions with properly engineered surfaces.
“Rather than trying to take us backwards with the Scottish Greens, I want the Scottish Government to invest in the transport network of the future, with road improvements including new cycle lanes, electric charging infrastructure for cars and buses alongside investment in better rail links.”
A statement from the Green Party’s Clydesdale branch said: “In Clydesdale, Greens back investment in the rail network which would allow more services to Edinburgh and Glasgow from Carstairs, the reopening of Symington station and vastly improved services from Clydesdale to Lockerbie and beyond.”
In addition to wanting upgrades to the rail network, Scottish Greens are well known for their calls for better funding and regulation of bus services.
Janet Moxley, co-convenor of South Lanarkshire Greens and veteran public transport campaigner said: “Brian Whittle seems to assume that everyone in the south of Scotland is a car-owner. This is simply not the case - for a variety of reasons many people do not have access to a car. His insistence on investing in new roads at the expense of public transport will leave these residents stranded.”