Almost £2 million spent on reviewing A96 dualling plans

The SNP-Green Government have spent almost £2 million on its four-week consultation to review A96 dualling plans which gathered just 4,700 responses.

Almost £2 million was spent on the A96 dualling plans consultation which gathered just 4,700 responses.
Almost £2 million was spent on the A96 dualling plans consultation which gathered just 4,700 responses.

Scottish Conservative north-east MSPs described the questionnaire as an “abysmal waste of taxpayers money” and have told ministers to “get on with the life-saving improvements”.

A freedom of information request by the party showed £1.8 million was forked out on its A96 Corridor Review which looked at the environmental impact of dualling the major route.

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The A96 connects several communities along the corridor including Nairn, Forres, Elgin, Fochabers, Keith, Huntly, Inverurie and Kintore.

But the online consultation, which failed to ask anything about the prospect of dualling the A96, only gathered 4,600 survey responses and 93 email replies.

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Figures obtained from Police Scotland show thirteen people died and almost 180 were injured in collisions on the road in the last three years.

The findings of the review, which was conducted in May, will be published by the end of the year.

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Scottish Conservative Shadow Net Zero, Energy and Transport Secretary Liam Kerr, who will deliver a speech in parliament this week calling for the route to be dualled in its entirety, said: “This politically driven review has been shown to be yet another abysmal waste of taxpayers money.

“More than a decade has gone by since the SNP pledged to dual the route with no meaningful progress and now thanks to the politicking of central-belt based Green MSPs, further delays have been caused by this unnecessary review.

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“Rather than asking people how old their car is, perhaps they should actually ask if they want the road dualled or not and I can guarantee what the answer will be.

“It’s time for the SNP to stop pandering to their Green partners and get on with these life-saving improvements to dual the A96 in full.”

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Scottish Conservative MSP for Aberdeenshire West, Alexander Burnett, who has also been campaigning for safety upgrades to be made on the route, added: “This flimsy review has resulted in money being thrown down the drain – all to appease the SNP’s green partners who want to take cars off the road.

“The SNP are betraying communities in the north-east by continually stalling on this much-needed upgrade.

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People don’t want to fill out questionnaires - they deserve to have the A96 dualled which will benefit livelihoods while creating jobs and giving our future generation more opportunities to prosper.”

In August 2021, the Scottish Government and Scottish Green Party Parliamentary Group agreed a Cooperation Agreement and a shared policy programme.

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The Scottish Government committed to take forward a transport enhancements programme on the A96 corridor that will improve connectivity between surrounding towns, tackle congestion and address safety and environmental issues.

You can find out more about the A96 Corridor Review at www.transport.gov.scot/our-approach/strategy/a96-corridor-review/