THE new Secretary of State for Transport has been invited to the Borders to discuss the "critical" extension of the local railway.

Leader of Scottish Borders Council (SBC) councillor Euan Jardine has invited transport secretary Louise Haigh MP to the Borders to discuss extending the Borders Railway from Tweedbank to Carlisle via Hawick.

Writing to Ms Haigh congratulating her on her appointment to Prime Minister Keir Starmer's cabinet, Cllr Jardine highlighted the "transformative impact" the Borders Railway has already on the local community.

He also added that extending the railway would have a number of positive effects on the region's economy.

He said: "This extension promises a brighter future for our communities.

"Your visit and the opportunity to meet with us to discuss the Borders Railway extension project in more detail would not only be greatly appreciated but also significant to our communities."

In his letter Cllr Jardine highlighted the progress already made to extend the railway through the collaborative efforts of Transport Scotland, the Department for Transport, and SBC.

He also praised the Campaign for Borders Rail group which has been "pivotal in supporting the project".

While acknowledging the challenges which remain, he expressed his optimism that these could be overcome with the continued support from the Scottish and UK governments.

Cllr Jardine is awaiting a response from the minister.