COMMUNITY leaders in Nairn have welcomed confirmation from transport chiefs that a set of town centre traffic lights will be removed – and have called for monitoring of others.
The set at the A96 Albert Street junction had been switched off for a trial period after several years of complaints by townsfolk fed up with the high number and close proximity of traffic lights through the main route.
Roads agency Transport Scotland has concluded that journey times through Nairn improved since the switch-off last November "with no adverse impact on pedestrians or cyclists".
The lights will be removed by the end of May. The trial followed collaboration between the agency, Highland Council and community representatives.
Nairn Suburban and West Community Council chairman Dick Youngson said: "The trial period helped enormously in the monitoring of the congestion and build-up of fumes from stationary vehicles.
"The traffic is now flowing nicely and safely. A continued review is a good idea. I know they’re looking at the Lochloy Road junction.
"Pupils at the primary school have reverted to crossing at Leopold Street which is safer in terms of visibility. It will help with traffic flow and kids’ safety."
Michael Boylan, chairman of the Association of Nairn Businesses, said: "We’ll be glad when they’re removed and the provisional barriers are tidied up. The council and Transport Scotland need to keep looking at the options. We also need to bear in mind it’s not just about traffic but about pedestrians.
"We want to get traffic moving more smoothly through the town but also for people to be able to move around the town easily on foot, which is ever more important as we grow as a tourist destination."
Local Highland councillor Tom Heggie said: "The proximity of two sets of lights was, on occasion, confusing."
Scottish Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: "We’re delighted the changes improved journey times while maintaining a safe environment. Work will now begin to permanently remove the traffic signals and install a permanent pedestrian barrier."