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Moray residents urged to respond to A96 consultation after Scottish Government agrees to carry out review on dualling road

By Jonathan Clark

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MORAY residents are being urged to respond to a consultation and provide their opinions on the dualling of the A96.

Plans to dual the A96 began way back in 2013, with a route in Moray – from Hardmuir to Fochabers – decided in late 2018.

However, the Scottish Government recently agreed to undertake a review and climate compatibility assessment before the road is dualled.

The aim of the consultation is to give Transport Scotland a better idea of how the A96 is used.

The plans to dual the road in Moray have been confirmed since 2018.
The plans to dual the road in Moray have been confirmed since 2018.

Moray's SNP MSP Richard Lochhead insists that the plan remains to dual the road, but Highlands and Islands Green MSP Ariane Burgess hopes the review will provide her party with a chance to present plans for a green transport corridor between Inverness and Aberdeen.

Moray's Conservative MP Douglas Ross said the review is proof that the SNP are "rowing back" on their commitment to dual the road to appease the Greens.

Richard Lochhead said: “The dualling of the A96 is vital for the future of Moray’s economy and for the north-east.

Richard Lochhead SNP MSP..Picture: Becky Saunderson..
Richard Lochhead SNP MSP..Picture: Becky Saunderson..

“The current plan remains to dual the A96. However, the Scottish Government has agreed to carry out a review and a climate compatibility assessment, and this public consultation is an important part of that.

“I know that local businesses and residents will have strong views on the future of the route, the upgrades that are required, and plans to dual the A96 more generally.

"I would urge everyone with an interest to respond to the consultation to ensure that people in Moray have their voice heard.”

Scottish Greens MSP Ariane Burgess hopes the thoughts of those who walk and cycle are represented.

Green MSP Ariane Burgess in Forres...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
Green MSP Ariane Burgess in Forres...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

“For many years, dualling the A96 has been seen as a magic bullet to traffic problems in the north-east," she said. "But we cannot road-build our way to net-zero.

"Cheap, reliable public transport which can facilitate commuting, safe active travel infrastructure, dualling the Inverness-Aberdeen train line to encourage freight as an alternative to haulage and world class EV charging infrastructure should be part of the discussion – as well as safety upgrades and bypasses which improve the quality of life in towns bisected by the A96

"I want to ensure there is maximum engagement and that our region leads the way in Scotland for inter-city connections that work for people and the planet.”

Moray's MP Douglas Ross said that the views and interests of rural communities are being forgotten by the SNP, at the expense of appeasing the Greens – who they are currently in coalition with at Holyrood.

Douglas Ross, Moray's Conservative MP. Picture: James Mackenzie
Douglas Ross, Moray's Conservative MP. Picture: James Mackenzie

“This review is confirmation that the SNP are seriously prepared to backtrack on previous commitments to dual the A96," he said.

“They are putting the interests of their Green coalition partners above the needs of our rural and remote communities.

“The A96 is already in urgent need of upgrading, and needs to be dualled, but now the SNP are using this review to kick these improvements into the long grass.

“Everyone understands the need to tackle our climate emergency and achieve net zero ambitions, but in Moray having access to a car remains an absolute necessity.

“I would urge everyone to make their voices heard as loudly as possible in this consultation.

“I will continue to push at every turn for the A96 to be fully dualled as promised to bring major social and economic benefits for the communities I represent here in Moray.”

To take part in the online consultation, visit www.transport.gov.scot/our-approach/strategy/a96-corridor-review.

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