Dualling review of A96 delayed again

24/11/2023

THE outcome of a review on dualling the A96 has been delayed again, a year after it was meant to be completed.

The A96 corridor review was due to be announced for a final public consultation in autumn this year, but Transport Scotland revealed to The Press and Journal that the review’s findings are expected “in the coming months”.

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Just last month, an overwhelming majority of SNP members at the party’s annual conference in Aberdeen backed a motion to support dualling of the road.

The review of the plans were ordered last year after the Greens, who are against dualling the road, joined a power-sharing deal with the SNP.

But SNP MSP Fergus Ewing, who called for his party to “recycle” the Greens in Holyrood yesterday, is calling the new delay a “shocking, pathetic and a betrayal of the north-east”. 

“We are now more than half way through this five-year session of parliament, and despite all that time, no progress has been made.

“How on earth can either the minister Fiona Hyslop, the fourth transport minister in under three years, or senior Transport Scotland officials possibly justify this abject failure?”

The SNP had promised to fully dual the A96 between Aberdeen and Inverness by 2030.

But now, any decision on whether they will actually go ahead and dual the road won’t be made until the final public consultation is complete.

Elgin Councillor Jérémie Fernandes, who called for the dualling at last month’s conference, said: “I hope the results of the review will be published sooner rather than later.

“The position of the SNP, re-affirmed at our conference this year, has not changed: the A96 must be dualled in full, from Aberdeen to Inverness.”

A Transport Scotland spokesman added: “Following publication of the initial appraisal report and the accompanying consultation report at the end of last year, we continue to push forward the necessary further detailed work to inform the remaining stages of the review.

“These include a robust appraisal of the retained options alongside a climate compatibility assessment and also a range of statutory assessments, with outcomes from this expected to be ready in the coming months for final public consultation, before a final decision can be reached.”

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