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A96 Action responds to Transport Secretary declining to meet with the group.

NEWS RELEASE

22 May 2019

A96 ACTION RESPONDS TO TRANSPORT SECRETARY DECLINING TO MEET WITH THE GROUP

A96 Action has expressed disappointment that the Scottish Transport Secretary, Michael Matheson MSP, has declined to meet with the group to discuss plans to dual the A96 between Aberdeen and Huntly, specifically the potential of using the existing A96 at Inverurie.

Chairperson of the group, Lorna Anderson, said, ‘We believe that this option has been rejected prematurely on flawed and incomplete information, and that the economic case has simply not been made.

‘We have carried out a critical evaluation of the evidence put forward in Transport Scotland’s Feasibility and Appraisal Report for ruling out online dualling options, and consider it imbalanced, omitting a considerable number of positive benefits, while over-focusing on and overstating potential negatives. We therefore believe the report, on which the rejection of the online dualling option is founded, to be deeply flawed.’

‘We aimed to make the Transport Secretary aware of our very real concerns and are very grateful to Peter Chapman, regional MSP for North East Scotland, for being sufficiently concerned by our findings to offer to broker a meeting between Mr Matheson and ourselves, which unfortunately has been declined.’

A96 Action strongly supports measures to improve road safety and journey times, address peak time congestion in and around Inverurie and regional economic growth. But the group believes that using the existing A96 corridor must still be considered on the basis of minimizing cost, the urgency of taking action against climate change, and the irreparable damage that miles of new road would cause to sensitive landscapes, wildlife habitats and farm economies.

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For further information, contact: Mel Roberts 07734 310407

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Notes to editors

The A96 Action Group is a broad group of East Garioch residents opposed to plans being assessed by Transport Scotland to build at huge cost a new A96 dual carriageway through open countryside and farmland as part of the A96 dualling project.

The Scottish Government announced its intention to dual the A96 between Inverness and Aberdeen in 2011, prior to assessment of traffic data, cost and economic benefits required to justify a dual carriageway.

In their tender documentation, Transport Scotland comments on measurable benefits state, ‘the quantifiable/monetized benefits for dualling will not outweigh the capital cost and the environmental impact may be high.’

Our aim is to achieve the reinstatement of the existing A96 corridor as the optimum route for dualling, or otherwise upgrading, the A96 between Inverurie and Huntly on the grounds of:

· Environmental impact – climate change and protection of wildlife

· Unproven economic case, overstated economic benefits

· Waste of public money that should be spent on local services for local people

· Government policy requires the use of existing infrastructure where feasible.

A copy of our analysis is available on request from A96 Action.

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