Calls for Scottish Government to fast-track upgrade of A90 at Toll of Birness if north-east is granted freeport status

The Scottish Government must fast-track plans to dual the A90 at Toll of Birness if the north-east is granted freeport status, politicians have said.

Douglas Lumsden and Gillian Owen have warned that a freeport in Aberdeen and Peterhead “cannot be hamstrung by an inadequate road network” between the two areas.

The north-east MSP and Ellon councillor visited the site as they ramped up their campaign for dualling the major route ahead of a decision being made later this summer on Scotland’s two winning freeport bids.

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Mr Lumsden said the Toll of Birness must be included in the Scottish Government’s Strategic Transport Projects Review 2 if the north-east is granted a freeport.

Douglas Lumsden and Gillian Owen at the A90 Toll of Birness

He said: “The Scottish Government has been in the slow lane for the last 15 years on upgrading the A90 at the Toll of Birness and this especially needs to change if we are granted freeport status.

“It’s imperative that this fantastic project isn’t hamstrung by an inadequate road network connecting Aberdeen and Peterhead.

“For too long the Scottish Government has turned a blind eye to the safety issues that continue to persist at the Toll of Birness but I believe if we were granted a freeport then ministers would have no choice but to upgrade the road.”

Plans to dual the Toll of Birness have been included in transport body Nestrans’ 2040 strategy, which outlines the areas it will prioritise over the next two decades.

Gillian Owen, who runs the Why Stop at Ellon campaign, said: “The prospect of a freeport would be transformational for the north-east.

“If the bid is successful then there is absolutely no excuse for the Scottish Government to stall on upgrading the A90 any longer.

“Commuters regularly have to contend with daily accidents and near misses on the road.

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"But I believe a freeport should finally force the SNP Government to act after 15 years of neglecting the route.”

A delegtation for the Freeport bid headed down to Westminster recently to back their case for the north-east to be selected as a site.