A96 route option to be reconsidered

Save Bennachie campaigners with Gillian Martin MSP, Cabinet Secretary Keith Brown, Lib Dem Mike Rumbles and Scottish Conservatives MSPs Liam Kerr, Peter Chapman, and Tom Mason at Holyrood
Save Bennachie campaigners with Gillian Martin MSP, Cabinet Secretary Keith Brown, Lib Dem Mike Rumbles and Scottish Conservatives MSPs Liam Kerr, Peter Chapman, and Tom Mason at Holyrood

A route option for the A96 dualling between Aberdeen to Inverness has been put back on the table by Transport Scotland and the firm behind its construction.

The decision comes only a week after campaigners from the Save Bennachie group were invited to Holyrood by Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin to discuss their concerns with Cabinet Secretary for the Economy Keith Brown.

The move means the potential route, Option Q, will be reconsidered.

Ms Martin has been working alongside campaigners who have been protesting against one of the routes being considered coming close to local landmark Bennachie.

Two of the options being considered would result in the road passing close to Bennachie Forest.

Potential routes are currently being assessed by Amey-Arup Joint Venture for Transport Scotland.

In a meeting with Aberdeenshire Councillors today (Thursday, January 18) it was confirmed that Option Q was now also being considered once again.

It would provide a route which would take the Aberdeen to Huntly section which would roughly follow the route of the A947 from Dyce to Old Meldrum, then cutting across to the Glens of Foudland.

Gillian Martin MSP said: “I am delighted Option Q is to be reconsidered by Transport Scotland and Amey Arup.

“I have no doubt this decision is in response to direct pressure from both myself and the Save Bennachie group over the past year.

“Bennachie is an iconic landmark which is a loved part of the Aberdeenshire landscape. It will be a relief to know other options are being considered.

“We will continue to work hard to ensure all other options are considered and I would like to thank Transport Scotland and Amey Arup for listening to the concerns raised and taking them on board.”