Local paper hails ‘people power’ in road improvement campaign

A CAMPAIGN by a local newspaper to have action taken against a road accident blackspot is being hailed as a success for ‘people power’.

Reports the Dumfries and Galloway Standard, the Scottish Government has “bowed to ‘people power’ and agreed to fund [a] £20 million redevelopment” of a “killer stretch” of the A75.

The paper ran a 12-week series of stories and gathered 4,352 signatures on a petition in response to the tragic death of an 18 day-old baby on the road in March.

The bi-weekly paper’s chief reporter, Craig Robertson, who presented the petition to Transport Minister, Keith Brown, at the Scottish Parliament, told allmediascotland.com: “We are delighted that the Scottish Government listened to the view of our readers and the paper that this upgrade was long overdue.

“We gave a voice to their anger at the inaction of successive governments and it proves that a strong local newspaper campaign can have influence at the highest levels of politics.

“But more importantly this upgrade will make a notorious route much safer.”

The paper, part of Trinity Mirror’s Media Scotland group, marked the success with three pages of coverage in its Friday edition.

Editor, Kenny Barr, said: “It was a campaign that we had to take on. We knew we had a major fight on our hands and didn’t expect to achieve victory so quickly.

“I’m thankful to the Government for listening and acting so quickly and for the support of our readers, and [baby] Oliver Hewson’s parents, who helped make it happen.”