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Public consultation begins on A96 Inverness to Aberdeen route as part of Scottish Government review

By Neil MacPhail

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Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth.
Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth.

THE public are being asked for their views on future plans for the A96 between Inverness and Aberdeen.

An online consultation starting today (May 12) is seeking views on existing issues along the A96 corridor, and the kind of opportunities that could be realised in the future.

Transport Scotland is seeking a better understanding of how the A96 corridor is used, particularly given the changes to everyone’s lives due to Covid-19 pandemic, and the extent to which the climate emergency makes a difference to how people travel on the A96 in the future.

This initial consultation is in the form of a digital survey supported by an online Story Map.

Full details of review, the survey and Story Map can be found on the Transport Scotland website: A96 Corridor Review

Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth said: “We remain committed to delivering improvements along the A96 corridor.

“The current plan is to fully dual the route between Inverness and Aberdeen.

"However, we have agreed to conduct a transparent, evidence-based review of the A96 Dualling Programme including a climate compatibility assessment. That is sensible good governance for major investment of that level.

“This public consultation is an essential part of our review of the A96.

“The views of residents, stakeholders and businesses will help us to consider the impact of the climate emergency, Covid-19 and other changes to travel patterns when planning improvements to journeys along the route.

“We want to hear from communities and stakeholders throughout the A96 corridor so that we can take this into account alongside other technical reports when identifying options for improvements on the route. I encourage people with an interest to take part.”

In August 2021, the Scottish Government and Scottish Green Party Parliamentary Group announced that there would be a transparent, evidence-based review of the A96 Corridor, including a climate compatibility assessment to evaluate the direct and indirect impacts on the climate and the environment.

Nairn's in line for bypass.
Nairn's in line for bypass.

In relation to the A96, the Scottish Government has committed to transport enhancements programme that improves connectivity between surrounding towns, tackles congestion and addresses safety and environmental issues. This will include:

Dualling from Inverness to Nairn

Bypassing of Nairn, Keith, Elgin and Inverurie accompanied by measures to remove through traffic from the by-passed town centres

Targeted road safety improvements where needed, for example between Fochabers and Huntly and Inverurie to Aberdeen

The development of an A96 “Electric Highway”. This involves electric transmitters buried under the road surface to generate voltage whic could boost electric vehicle batteries as they pass.

The A96 Corridor Review will look at all forms of transport and consider the impact of the global climate emergency and Covid-19 on how people work and travel.

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