No action on dualling A96 would be "abdication of responsibility"

Scottish Ministers have been warned any move to delay dualling the A96 would be seen as an “abdication of responsibility” by people in the North East.

13 people have died and almost 180 injured in collisions in the last three years.
13 people have died and almost 180 injured in collisions in the last three years.

Police Scotland figures recently revealed 13 people died and almost 180 were injured in collisions on the single carriageway in the last three years.

But the long-delayed SNP Government commitment to dualling was further stalled by a climate consultation, following power-sharing agreements with the Greens.

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At Holyrood last Thursday, MSPs heard the A96 Corridor Review report will be published by the year’s end. It gathered 4,700 responses and cost £1.8 million to conduct.

North East region MSP Liam Kerr challenged transport secretary Jenny Gilruth over “how quickly” her government would act if there is an overwhelming pro-dualling response.

Ms Gilruth said the consultants would share survey responses with Mr Kerr when it is published, as she had previously undertaken with Aberdeenshire East SNP MSP Gillian Martin.

Scottish Conservative Mr Kerr said: “The consultation closed in June and there were, as we’ve heard, nearly 5,000 responses. If this has been done properly, most will be from people in the North East and most, if not all, will say ‘dual it’.

“We surely owe that to the 13 people who have been killed and the 180 injured in just the last three years.

“If this government doesn’t follow through on more than a decade of promises, people across the North East will regard it as an outright abdication of responsibility.

“So Minister, after the consultation is published showing the people of the North East demand it, how quickly will the dualling of the entire A96 commence?”

Ms Gilruth said she would “come back with a timeline to Parliament to update on the next steps in relation to dualling” when the review data is available.

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She added: “The current plan is to fully dual the route. However, we have committed to conducting this transparent evidence-based review and as I offered to Ms Martin and I will offer to Mr Kerr,

“I'd be more than happy to arrange for the consultants who undertook the review to meet with him to disseminate those results.”