MSP backs Save Bennachie campaign

Local residents have mounted a campaign to ensure that the area around Bennachie is protected
Local residents have mounted a campaign to ensure that the area around Bennachie is protected
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The Scottish Government has been urged to reject options for the re-routing and dualling of the A96 that will encroach upon Bennachie and the surrounding area.

Aberdeenshire West Conservative MSP Alexander Burnett has written to Economy Secretary Keith Brown in support of the Save Bennachie campaign.

Aberdeenshire West MSP Alexander Burnett has supported the Save Bennachie campaign

Aberdeenshire West MSP Alexander Burnett has supported the Save Bennachie campaign

Transport Scotland is moving forward with proposals for a major upgrade to the Aberdeen-Inverness road by 2030, with several options on the table for the route that the carriageway will take.

Local residents have mounted a campaign to ensure that the area around Bennachie is protected.

The community effort has already garnered cross-party support from local politicians.

Mr Burnett, in a letter backed by his party colleagues, North East region MSPs Peter Chapman, Liam Kerr, Ross Thomson and Bill Bowman, has lobbied for the protection of the local landmark.

He said: “The affinity for Bennachie among the North-east public cannot be overstated, with more than 130,000 visitors annually walking, cycling, running or riding on and around the area.

“Generations of local residents have enjoyed the wildlife, ecology and geology of Bennachie, and people do not want the picturesque location to be adversely affected by a dual carriageway.

“There are a number of options being considered, but I think there is a very strong case to be made for making sure that Bennachie and the surrounding area is protected.”

He added: “Aside from the value to visitors and the local community, there are also safety and environmental reasons for choosing a route that is not over higher ground.

“We also need to think about links to other forms of transport including bus and rail networks and the benefits in terms of economic growth of having the dual carriageway close to the main population centres in the area.

“I know this campaign already has cross-party support, and I hope that the Scottish Government and Transport Scotland will take these views on board before a decision is made.”