Outcry as First Minister hesitates on full dualling of A96 ‘killer’ road in Aberdeenshire

12/01/2024
First Minister Humza Yousef

First Minister Humza Yousaf faces criticism for hesitating on full A96 road dualing commitment between Aberdeen and Huntly. 

Scottish Conservative MSP Liam Kerr brands delays “scandalous.” New figures indicate 11 deaths and 69 serious injuries on the A96 in four years. Yousaf’s partial commitment to Inverness to Nairn upgrades raises concerns. Critics accuse the SNP of neglect, demand answers on safety issues, and the £5 million A96 Corridor Review delays. Calls for transparency and resolution intensify, urging the SNP to address the North East’s road safety concerns promptly.

“The fact that Humza Yousaf refuses to commit to dualling between Aberdeen and Huntly is an utter betrayal to the people of Aberdeenshire. Taxpayers are still having to pay the ever-increasing bill for this scandalous review, which continues to be delayed and should never have been needed in the first place,” says Liam Kerr, Scottish Conservative MSP.

“His announcement today that orders are being prepared for Inverness to Nairn will provide little comfort to people outside these areas on the A96 who have to contend with this killer road on a daily basis. The SNP Government is neglecting the people of the North East and is shamefully kicking the can down the road at every opportunity on fulfilling its promise to dual the A96 in full,” Kerr adds.

“I have yet to receive any details on the meeting Humza Yousaf has promised on January 25, and I have urgently sought clarity to make sure this happens so questions can finally be answered, and updates can finally be given.”

The SNP pledged to dual the A96 highway between Aberdeen and Inverness in 2011, but the project was halted during the coalition with the Greens. The A96 Corridor Review, cost at £5 million, was announced as part of the SNP-Greens power-sharing deal. Scottish Conservative MSP Liam Kerr deems the delays “scandalous” and questions when the review will finally clarify the Aberdeenshire section dualing.

In response to Kerr’s inquiry during FMQs, Yousaf announced a meeting for January 25 to update on the A96 Corridor Review. Yousaf’s refusal to commit to full A96 dualing sparks outrage, especially given the region’s concerns over safety. Kerr points out the human cost, with 11 deaths and 69 serious injuries on the A96 in the last four years.

Yousaf’s focus on Inverness to Nairn upgrades leads to accusations of prioritizing certain areas over others. Calls for detailed plans and transparency grow, emphasizing the SNP’s responsibility to address safety issues and live up to its 2011 pledge.

A sense of betrayal resonates among Aberdeenshire residents as Yousaf steers away from a comprehensive A96 dualing commitment. Kerr criticises the SNP’s focus on certain areas, leaving residents outside targeted regions concerned about continued safety risks. The cost of the delayed A96 Corridor Review amplifies discontent, with taxpayers footing an increasing bill for a review deemed unnecessary.

Critics argue that Yousaf’s announcement on draft orders for Inverness to Nairn upgrades falls short of addressing Aberdeenshire’s immediate safety needs. The SNP’s decision to prioritise specific sections amplifies perceptions of regional neglect. Kerr insists on clarity during the January 25 meeting, pushing for answers and resolution on the A96’s uncertain future.

Residents demand transparency and a commitment to safety on the “killer” road, emphasising the SNP’s accountability in resolving this critical issue. In conclusion, Yousaf’s refusal to commit to full A96 dualing raises concerns about regional neglect and safety prioritisation. 

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