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Local MSPs Rhoda Grant, Edward Mountain and Ariane Burgess comment on Second National Transport Strategy Delivery Plan which includes A9 and A96 dualling, Longman junction scheme development and delivery of new Dalcross train station

By Federica Stefani

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An artist’s impression of what the Longman junction could look like.
An artist’s impression of what the Longman junction could look like.

A LOCAL MSP said a new strategy plan for transport in Scotland which included in its action plans important development to local roads "doesn't go far enough", adding that progress on development schemes so far has been "happening at a snail’s pace".

The Second National Transport Strategy Delivery Plan was published yesterday (June 8) by the Scottish Government and it includes among its action points the commitment to the delivery of a new train station at Dalcross as well as development and assessment work of the preferred option for the A9/A82 Longman junction scheme in Inverness and the dualling of sections the A9 and the A96.

Commenting on this new plan, Highlands and Islands Conservative MSP Edward Mountain said: “This new strategy does not go far enough in its ambitions for improving vital infrastructure in the Highlands.

“While I welcome the commitment to dual the A9, progress is happening at a snail’s pace.

“Highlanders desperately need the A96 to be dualled too, but there are still huge doubts as to whether that will happen given the Scottish Government’s ongoing review of the project.

Edward Mountain..
Edward Mountain..

“I eagerly await the completion of the new Dalcross Railway station, however it would have been better had it been built closer to the Airport terminal building.

“Ultimately, this strategy will leave many disappointed. The SNP-Green coalition is under-investing in the infrastructure our Highland communities deserve and need.”

Approximately 70 action points are laid out in the delivery plan, aiming to address four main priorities: reducing inequalities, tackling climate change, helping deliver inclusive economic growth and improving health and wellbeing.

Commenting about the new developments, Greens MSP Ariane Burgess said: “I am heartened to see the commitment to a new station at Dalcross and a more joined-up approach to public transport in the National Transport Strategy Second Delivery Plan – I hope this will increase the amount of people who are able to commute in from Tornagrain as well as making travel to Inverness Airport more accessible for those who walk, wheel and cycle.

Ariane Burgess, Scottish Green Party. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Ariane Burgess, Scottish Green Party. Picture: James Mackenzie.

"I am hopeful that the Scottish Government are still open to suggestions from the Nairn Community Councils about alternatives to a fully dualled bypass around the town. Whist the plan represents a step in the right direction there is still a lot of work to do, to make public transport and active travel the default choice in our region.”

Labour's MSP Rhoda Grant welcomed the sounds of progress in areas throughout the region.

She said: "I and my colleagues have been calling for much needed improvements to transport links throughout the north for many years. I welcome the news that the Scottish Government have prioritised the dualling of the A9 and A96, this is a topic that I have been pursuing for many years now.

Rhoda Grant, Scottish Labour Party and Scottish Co-operative Party. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Rhoda Grant, Scottish Labour Party and Scottish Co-operative Party. Picture: James Mackenzie.

"There is much work to be done throughout the region to improve transport links and roads. The SNP have left and forgotten about these areas for years and now, the work load and conditions have reached a critical point. They talk about ensuring access to “affordable, accessible and sustainable transport” but have failed to implement and deliver on this in all their time in government.

"Improved bus and train facilities, encouraging people out of cars, lowering the carbon footprint is long overdue. If they want to deliver on their climate goals, they need to really invest and deliver in these infrastructure projects as soon as possible.

"The announcement of a new station at Dalcross by the end of 2022 is very much welcomed. However, I will wait to see how the Scottish Government progress and deliver on the modest promise of hourly services. Their track record to date has left much to be desired.

"We are yet to see movement on improvements to the A9 North and the A82, both roads in desperate need of attention."

READ MORE: New Dalcross station near Inverness Airport, A9 and A96 dualling and Longman junction scheme among action points in newly published National Transport Strategy Delivery Plan

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