Home   News   Article

Holyrood hears 2030 A96 dualling pledge 'abandoned', as emails revealed by Northern Scot investigation sparks question

By Lewis McBlane

Register for free to read more of the latest local news. It's easy and will only take a moment.

Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!

TRANSPORT secretary Fiona Hyslop MSP failed to address claims made in an exclusive Northern Scot A96 investigation, when questioned at Holyrood today.

North east MSP Liam Kerr pushed FIona Hyslop on the internal emails.
North east MSP Liam Kerr pushed FIona Hyslop on the internal emails.

Asked directly whether the Scottish Government's pledge to dual the A96 by 2030 was "abandoned more than three years ago" – and the public kept in the dark – Ms Hyslop instead discussed the year-late A96 Corridor Review.

The answer came following a question by North East Scotland MSP Liam Kerr (Conservative), who asked a topical question on the emails today – later claiming there was a "veil of secrecy around the project".

In a story published last Friday (February 16), we revealed internal emails from November 2020 which showed Transport Scotland officials, Scottish Government staff and Michael Matheson MSP agreeing to remove references to the 2030 deadline.

After the change was agreed, our story reported, officials worried about “communication of these issues” and stressed the need to organise a “handling plan” with Mr Matheson.

First Minister Humza Yousaf was quizzed on the emails during a visit to Moray last Saturday.

Mr Yousaf denied that the deadline was scrapped in November 2020 and argued that "we were always upfront" about dualling timescales.

In his Holyrood question, Mr Kerr argued the emails showed that "disgraced former transport minister Michael Matheson ensured the public was not told" about the ditched deadline."

He said: "Over the weekend, Northern Scot reported that the promise to dual the A96 by 2030 was abandoned more than three years ago.

“FOIs suggest that the disgraced former transport minister Michael Matheson ensured that the public was not told of that.

“Let me ask the cabinet secretary, clearly and concisely, a yes or no question.

“Will the SNP dual the A96 in full by 2030 as promised?”

Responding, Ms Hyslop said: "The SNP Government will respect the review that is taking place. Respect all those thousands of people who have inputted into that."

In his question Mr Kerr also spoke of his sadness after the deaths of two people following a three-vehicle crash on the A96 last week.

The transport secretary offered her condolences to the families of those who lost their lives.

Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More