Greens join fight for Langholm traffic slowdown

THE danger to pedestrians from speeding traffic in Langholm’s High Street was top of the list of priorities this week for local Greens candidate, Alis Ballance.

Her party’s leading candidate for the South of Scotland regional list, Ms Ballance was in Langholm to support local campaigners fighting to make their High Street a safer and more pleasant place.

George Ferguson, owner of a Langholm High Street shop, Mojo’s, and lifelong resident, cycling enthusiast and expert on Living Streets design, Bill Telfer, met Ms Ballance to share their concerns about high-speed traffic, including heavy lorries, on the A7.

Living Streets gives pedetsrians priority over vehicles in towns.

Both men want to see a 20mph speed limit imposed to tackle the problem in Langholm, but their request has been turned down by local coucillors on the grounds that the A7 is a trunk road.

Ms Ballance said new Scottish Government guidelines in a policy document, Designing Streets, make special allowance for trunk roads which are also burgh high streets, to put pedestrian safety first.

“As a mum, I would certainly be nervous to walk along the high street pushing the baby in a buggy and with my five-year-old alongside,” she told The Southern. “The Scottish Green Party is promoting the Living Streets model, where cars and lorries do not have priority.

“I would suggest that the high number of heavy, very polluting, lorries, on the High Street is also an argument for taking much of our freight off the roads and putting it on the railways.”

Ms Ballance says the Scottish Greens are backing the Borders rail campaign, which would mean freight could be carried by rail parallel to the A7, and says plans have been costed to make this an economically attractive option.

“We would also put 10 per cent of the overall transport budget into active travel – cycling and walking – including safe streets with 20mph limits”.

After the meeting, Mr Ferguson and Mr Telfer pledged to take the Twenty’s Plenty campaign a step further, by setting up a petition to demonstrate local support.