Councillor seeks clarity on Bennachie road proposal

Councillor Paul Johnston
Councillor Paul Johnston

Democratic Independent and Green Group (DIGG) councillor Paul Johnston is asking Aberdeenshire Council to clarify that councillors are opposed to the option of building a dual carriageway road on part of Bennachie.

Cllr Johnston said: "Bennachie is one the most loved hills in Britain, a source of inspiration and a place for recreation and nature. It must not be damaged by the intrusion of a major road on its lower slopes.

"I'm certain the vast majority of Aberdeenshire councillors are opposed to the idea of building a dual carriageway road across any part of Bennachie. The Council's position statement on the proposed A96 dualling, voted through at the April Aberdeenshire full council meeting, does however ask Transport Scotland to keep all 'viable route options' under consideration.

"I can't conceive of any circumstances under which it would be acceptable to build a dual carriageway on Bennachie. This is not specific to the A96. Any dual carriageway on Bennachie would be equally wrong.

Cllr Johnston added: "I'm not at all sure everyone who voted for the resolution passed in April realised they were voting in support of continuing to consider options for re-routing the A96 onto Bennachie. I believe it is essential there is a clear and unambiguous statement from the Council as soon as possible."

Cllr Johnston has submitted a Notice of Motion for debate at the Aberdeenshire full council meeting on June 28. The Notice of Motion says: 'This Council does not support building a dual carriageway on Bennachie.'

Aberdeenshire DIGG councillor Cllr Martin Ford said: "The traffic volumes do not justify converting the entire A96 to a dual carriageway. On that basis, I don't support the proposed dual carriageway for the whole A96 on any of the possible routes. Of course, that includes not wanting to see a dual carriageway built on Bennachie. Councillors who do want to see a dual carriageway built have expressed support for alternative routes. Cllr Johnston's motion may be the one thing we can all agree on."