A96 dualling: Greens leader Lorna Slater accused of 'throwing toys out the pram' by demanding project scrapped

Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater is being accused of “throwing her toys out the pram” by suggesting plans to dual the A96 be scrapped.

Ms Slater, who lost her Government job last week when Humza Yousaf ended the power-sharing deal with the Greens, says Scotland’s climate cannot afford for the road between Inverness and Aberdeen to be dualled.

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However, the Scottish Conservatives say the project would be “life-saving” and abandoning plans would be a “betrayal to the North East”.

Figures at the end of 2023 showed 11 people had died and almost 70 had been injured on the A96 in the previous four years.

Douglas Lumsden, Conservative MSP for the North East, said: “The SNP should be ashamed of themselves for allowing the A96 compatibility assessment to happen, more than a decade after promising to fully dual the road. Lorna Slater has thrown her toys out of the pram and in the process, told everyone that this scandalous review is nothing more than a deceitful manoeuvre to block the upgrade from taking place.”

He added: “It’s an utter betrayal to the people of the North East that the SNP would rather keep the Greens happy than upgrade the road.”

A climate compatibility review was ordered into the A96 dualling project as part of the Bute House Agreement, and was due to be published in 2021 - but it has not yet been completed.

On Thursday the Scottish Greens put their first question to Mr Yousaf at First Minister’s Questions as an opposition party, and chose to use the opportunity to demand the Scottish Government publish this review.

Ms Slater said the review would show the road could not be dualled and the money earmarked for the project should instead be spent on improving the existing single carriageway road and on public transport.

Ms Slater said the review was “long overdue”, adding: “Achieving our climate goals means drastically driving down car use. The Infrastructure Commission for Scotland, the Climate Change Committee and Transform Scotland have all said new road building to increase capacity is not compatible with the drive to net zero.”

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However, the outgoing Mr Yousaf said this was a problem for his successor to deal with. That looks set to be John Swinney, with the former deputy first minister having officially launched his bid to become the next first minister.

After Kate Forbes confirmed she would not be standing, Mr Swinney looks set to stand uncontested.

Mr Yousaf refused to be drawn on the future of the A96 dualling project, but said: “This Government for 17 years, whether before the Bute House Agreement or as part of the Bute House Agreement, can be proud of its track record of standing up to tackle the climate crisis.

“It is for my successor to come to the chamber and their Cabinet to make clear their priorities on the climate.”

Mr Yousaf said the review needed to be concluded before anything could be said in Parliament, and urged the Greens to work with the Government on an issue-by-issue basis.



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