The environmental challenges of dualling the A96 must, of course, be carefully considered, but the upgrade is not merely something that would be nice to have; it is a must-have for the north and north-east of Scotland.
To hear Green MSP, Maggie Chapman, so confidently say that dualling the entire route “actually isn’t viable” before the agreed governmental review findings have been released is galling, to say the least. It certainly does not seem that a great deal of time has been spent exploring the options.
Ms Chapman’s flippant argument that there are better ways than “building roads everywhere” to increase connectivity is misguided; some have been waiting for more than 30 years to see the A96 improvement happen.
This is not a kneejerk demand made by spoiled children, it is a pledge given and long perpetuated that has not been fulfilled.
“Would the predicted environmental impact defence fly if the A96 was located in the Central Belt, connecting two major locations?
Once called the most dangerous road in Scotland, The Press & Journal began campaigning for the stretch to be improved in 1989. It is a disgrace and a failure that three decades have been allowed to pass with no progress, repeatedly putting lives at risk.
Greens are turning their backs on the north-east
Ms Chapman’s interests should lie with what residents of the north-east want and need to thrive, yet she has ostensibly turned her back on many of them. Suddenly these people are in the wrong and being shamed simply for continuing to call on the government to do what it promised.
Would the predicted environmental impact defence fly if the A96 was located in the Central Belt, connecting two major locations? Scotland is home to some of the most brilliant minds in science and innovation. No doubt a workaround would be found further south, just in the nick of time.
We call on Ms Chapman and her colleagues to turn their efforts to finding a solution that benefits the north-east, which will – as is so often the case – be left at a disadvantage compared to the rest of the country if the dualling does not finally happen.
The Voice of the North is The Press & Journal’s editorial stance on what we think is the most important story of the day