Thank you, Presiding Officer. I will be brief.
The bypass is the bane of many people’s lives. Tens of thousands of people drive along it every day, and it often becomes one of the biggest traffic jams in the country. The loss of economic activity, leisure time and family time, the increase in pollution and frustration, and the time that is wasted being stuck on that road are bad for the economy, the environment, the health of residents and the wellbeing and sanity of drivers.
The Lothians area has been experiencing significant population growth for some time. Demand for goods and services, housing, general practitioner practices and other public services is there for all to see. As it stands, the roads infrastructure is simply not fit to serve that growing area.
Edinburgh is the capital city and the economic hub of the region and country. The bypass is an essential link to markets in the north-east of England and beyond into the south of England, and to the west, the central belt, Fife and on to the north of Scotland. It is a key road for Scotland’s economy and for those who work in it to produce the goods and wealth that we enjoy. We need major investment and a comprehensive approach to tackle a chronic problem.
Many technical solutions have been proposed over the years. Some of the solutions that have been proposed today are very interesting. My appeal to the minister is to make the bypass a national infrastructure priority now. We have had feasibility studies and desktop studies, and all sorts of people have looked at this issue over the years, but we need action and progress.
I would rather pull out my teeth with pliers and with no anaesthetic than drive the bypass each day—