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Consultation goes live on new active travel link between Avoch, Munlochy and Drumderfit

By Louise Glen

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Cyclists are markig the start of a consulation on a new activ travel link between Acoch, Munlochy and Drumderfit.
Cyclists are markig the start of a consulation on a new activ travel link between Acoch, Munlochy and Drumderfit.

A consultation with the whole community has been launched to improve road safety between Avoch and Munlochy.

Transition Black Isle (TBI) wants to hear views on a proposed route between the two Black Isle settlements in order to make it easier for people walking or wheeling for work or pleasure.

A consultant led appraisal of the routes has now been concluded and one pathway has been selected to progress work to the next stage.

TBI director Anne Thomas said: "We’re delighted that the public will be able to see plans for this transformative active travel link, attend our virtual consultation events and feedback what they think and we urge them to respond to the consultation to strengthen our evidence for local support.”

Ms Thomas explained that TBI first obtained funding for a feasibility study in 2014 but was not able to progress beyond this.

In 2019 the group obtained further funding from charity Sustrans in the light of increases in both cycle and driving tourism in the Highlands. Since then cycling and outdoor leisure has become even more popular as a result of restrictions required to combat Covid–19.

Highland Council was also seeking ways for climate change targets to be translated into activities that would reduce carbon emissions.

She continued: "Consultants Pell Frischmann completed an options appraisal study that examined all conceivable routes between Avoch and the Munlochy War Memorial, beyond which the back road to North Kessock provides an onward route for Inverness.

"The section from Munlochy village to the War Memorial also provides a walking route across the glen for leisure activities on Drumderfit Hill and an off-road section for the new John o’ Groats trail, which crosses the Black Isle from Inverness.

"This study rated all the possible routes against a set of criteria, one of which was the likelihood that Highland Council would maintain the chosen route after construction.

"It concluded that there was only one practicable route for commuter cycling, a path that lay beside the main road from Avoch to the Munlochy War Memorial, including a section along the old railway line."

TBI is seeking to engage and reach agreement with tenants and other landowners along the route. They are keen to continue discussions with anyone who is involved in ownership or management of the strip along the A832.

The public consultation will be presented on-line through a presentation and feedback form, with real-time on-line Q&A sessions. It will run from March 1 to March 29 and will be linked to the Transition Black Isle website

The consultation sessions will be on March 20, 23 and 25.

To see the plans visit https://www.transitionblackisle.org/active-link.asp

For more on TBI click here.

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