Public inquiry to go ahead as no movement from Transport Secretary on A9 cycleway issue

The Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity has confirmed that the Public Local Inquiry is set to go ahead following outstanding objections to the proposed Dalraddy to Slochd scheme.

Cairngorms National Park Authority, Highland Council and three community council have all submitted objections to the dualling of the A9 if a cycleway is not featured between Aviemore and Carrbridge.

Last month Edward Mountain called on the Cabinet Secretary to show ‘a dose of healthy common sense’ and amend the plans to ensure there is an unbroken cycleway alongside the A9 from Perth to Inverness.

In his response, the Cabinet Secretary confirmed: “In order to provide a segregated NMU [non-motorised users] route as part of the Dalraddy to Slochd scheme between Aviemore and Carrbridge, the compulsory purchase of third party land and any environmental impacts resulting from this would need to be justified. As there is no impact to the existing National Cycle Route between Aviemore and Carrbridge as a result of the dualling, the Scottish Ministers do not have the powers to use Compulsory Purchase as a means to deliver a new facility between Aviemore and Carrbridge as part of the A9 Dualling Programme.”

The Cabinet Secretary also confirmed: “as there are outstanding objections to the scheme, a Public Local Inquiry (PLI) has now been arranged. It is entirely normal for a scheme of this complexity to be considered at PLI, which is the appropriate forum for considering objections received, but not withdrawn, including from CNPA.”

Edward Mountain commented:

“The Cabinet Secretary’s response is hugely disappointing and shows a real lack of ambition. I wonder if he has even spoken to the landowners where the cycleway could be built to ask if the land could be obtained via voluntary agreement without the necessity to use compulsory purchase powers.

A climate emergency has been declared and the Scottish Government should be investing in active travel with a cycleway which runs alongside the A9 from Aviemore to Carrbridge.

The National Cycle Network between Aviemore to Carrbridge is not a like for like alternative in place of a new cycleway because it departs from the route of the A9 and takes cyclists out towards Boat of Garten.

A Public Local Inquiry is now inevitable and the dualling of the A9 could be delayed as result. This could have been avoided if the Scottish Government were truly committed to active travel in the Highlands.

This Scottish Government is hiding behind process. What about some innovation to improve the lives of Highlanders?”