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Highland MP Drew Hendry welcomes opportunity for area to invest more in active travel; the Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey MP was talking after the Scottish Government launched a new £10 million fund to help ease congestion


By Louise Glen

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MP Drew Hendry.
MP Drew Hendry.

A HIGHLAND MP has welcomed news that the Scottish Government is supplying £10 million to support the rapid deployment of bus priority infrastructure by local authorities.

Drew Hendry, MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, said he welcomed the package to reduce congestion on some of the area's busiest routes.

The fund will also include £8.8 million to improve air quality in a Bus Emissions Abatement Retrofit scheme that has improved grant thresholds for operators.

Working in partnership with bus operators, the new infrastructure fund will help areas of Scotland with the highest concentration of congestion to implement temporary measures, including bus lanes or gates.

It is hoped these changes will improve the attractiveness of bus travel.

Mr Hendry said: “I welcome this new package of support to reduce the impact of congestion on our busiest bus routes. This work will aid in the provision of a reliable, green alternative to car use as people increasingly look to travel in an environmentally-conscious fashion.

“Across the Highlands, and more locally in my constituency, we are already beginning to see and feel the benefits on new green travel schemes. As an active cyclist, I know the benefits of purpose-built cycle infrastructure and the benefits it brings both economically and health-wise.

"Making sure our town and city centres remain as uncongested as possible will allow us to open them up to pedestrians, cyclists and others in the greenest way possible.

“Covid-19 travel restrictions showed the potential improvements possible if bus travel can flow more freely.

"It is crucial that we cement these benefits and the connected improvements in air quality.

"While this next step will make bus journey times faster, I would continue to ask people to work from home where possible and stay local if they can.

"Walk, wheel or cycle where possible and plan ahead if using public transport to help manage demand."

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