Consultation to be held over Union Jack Borders flag plans

TRANSPORT Scotland has confirmed that it will consult on replacing a saltire with a Union Flag at the busiest border crossing with England.

The three Saltires currently flying at the Borders. Picture: PA

The Scottish Government quango will also consider taking down a second saltire and replacing it with the flag of Berwickshire.

The move follows reports that local councillors representing the area near the A1 crossing would formally ask for two of the three saltires to be replaced.

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The campaigners say motorists heading north should be reminded they are still in the UK.

The flags flying on the English side of the Border. Picture: PA

And they say the local flag will encourage more visitors to stay in the area rather than moving straight on to Edinburgh and the Highlands.

At present, three Saltires fly at the Lamberton Crossing on the A1 which is used by around 23 million vehicles annually.

The decision to challenge the flag arrangements was taken last week by the Berwickshire area forum, which is a group of local community councils.

The councillors point out that the English side of the border features a Union flag, St George’s Cross and the flag of Northumberland.

The flags flying on the English side of the Border. Picture: PA

A spokesperson for Transport Scotland said: “We’ve yet to receive the council’s request regarding the flags on the A1.

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Bid to replace Border Saltires with Berwickshire and Union Jack flags

“As previously stated, consultation with interested local and national agencies would be required to reach an agreed position.”

Asked if that meant consultation would be going ahead, the spokesman said it would.

Councillor Michael Cook, Berwickshire area forum chairman, said they would now formally request that Transport Scotland remove two of the Saltires.

He said of the proposal: “There’s two main strands to it.

“Firstly, people want to emphasise their local identity. To show that they’re proud to be from the Borders, proud to be Scottish and proud to be part of the UK.

“I’m proud of Berwickshire, I’m proud of the national flag and I’m also proud of the Union flag.”

“Secondly, we want to provide a more colourful counterpoint to the flags on the English side as at the moment we have three saltires and a sign with a big saltire on it.”

He continued: “I believe there’s a real desire to see the Union Jack and the Berwickshire flag flown locally because there’s a feeling that most people head directly on to Edinburgh or the Highlands.

“There’s a lot of Scotland to see before you get there and it would help promote local dimensions. That’s the bedrock of it all I feel.

“It’s now up to Transport Scotland. It’ll take a bit of time and we’ll have to explore the options with them.

“One just hopes they can do it in a fair and reasonable time.”

If the plans get the go-ahead, a new Berwickshire flag will needed to researched and created by the chairman in conjunction with council officials.

Inspiration could come from the old Berwickshire County coat of arms, which was granted in 1890 or from the arms of the Berwickshire District Council, created in 1975.

Any new design will require the approval from the Lord Lyon, who have the power to prosecute anyone who uses unauthorised arms.