Group's 'constructive' meeting at Holyrood

Members of the Save Bennachie campaign with Aberdeenshire MSPs at Holyrood
Members of the Save Bennachie campaign with Aberdeenshire MSPs at Holyrood

Members of the Save Bennachie campaign said they had a "positive" meeting at Holyrood yesterday.

The group met with the Cabinet Secretary of Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson, to discuss their campaign.

The Save Bennachie campaign aims to save the historic north east hill from being impacted by future work to dual the A96 Aberdeen to Inverness road.

Following the meeting, the Save Bennachie group said they were "very hopeful" that Mr Matheson will accept an invitation to visit the hill and experience its unique landscape for himself.

Member Margaret Garden said: "We had an excellent discussion with the Minister and we are grateful for his time.

"He took a close interest in the point we had to make about the environment, traffic management and the public amenity value of Bennachie.

"We emphasised that while the road undoubtedly needs to be upgraded, there are better options which don't impact on Bennachie."

She added: "We hope the Minister will take up our invitiation to visit Bennachie.

"We want to protect this outstanding landscape for generations to come. Bennachie has been recognised as a special place for hundreds of years. Our grandchildren, and their grandchildren will not forgive us if we allow it to be spoiled on our watch.

"We demonstrated to the Minister that this is a decision which is so close to Aberdeenshire hearts that it has united all our MSPs across the political spectrum."

Consultants are currently working on a shortlist of routes that would see the new A96 road bypass Inverurie, with their conclusions set to be revealed at a series of public meetings to be held next month.