Residents in the east of Inverness have raised fears that the impact of a new road are “flying under the radar”.
Dozens of people attended a meeting in Cradlehall last night after people power revealed a threat to a number of ancient oak trees on Caulfield Road North.
The community is anxious that the trees, all of which are more than 100 years old, could be chopped down to make way for the proposed new East Link road.
Concerns were first raised by residents after Transport Scotland held a consultation event, outlining their plans for the East Link road.
Cradlehall resident William Aitken took direct action to raise awareness of the issue by putting up placards and red and white tape around the trees.
His intervention led to last night’s meeting, attended by a number of local residents and politicians after Mr Aitken said he had been told all of the six options for the new road would result in the loss of the trees.
Mr Aitken told the meeting he had identified an alternative route which would save the trees, by moving the existing roundabout at Caulfield Road North.
Councillor Ken Gowans urged local people to submit tree preservation orders to preserve the trees from destruction, revealing he has already taken one out.
He praised Mr Aitken for his work, adding: “It is an issue that could have easily slipped under the radar, but it is clear it has galvanised the community.”
Fellow ward councillor Jim Crawford couldn’t comment directly on the issue, given his membership of the council’s planning committee.
However, he pointed to the outcry when the new Inverness prison was proposed for Milton of Leys and added: “People power changed that and if you have concerns you need to raise them.”
Several issues were also raised about the benefits of the East Link in general.
Last night’s meeting was organised at short notice, prior to the conclusion of Transport Scotland’s public consultation period.
A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “We are now considering the comments from the public exhibitions as we work towards identifying a preferred route option next year to improve the road network around Inverness and improve road safety for all users.
“The closing date for comments is October 7 and we would encourage anyone with an interest in this scheme to give us their views.”