Campaign group challenges Nestrans to “try harder”
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Following the deadline day for public submissions to Nestrans’ Regional Transport Survey (RTS), A96 Action has challenged Nestrans to adopt a more innovative approach, deeming the RTS to be “disappointing, must try harder”.
A96 Action’s Chair, Lorna Anderson said: “Many consequential things have happened in the last couple of years, not least the declaration of the Climate Emergency, the passing into law of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2019 and the yet to be fully comprehended implications of the Covid-19 pandemic, but particularly the massive increase in home working.
"These and other considerations such as the publication of the Infrastructure Commission for Scotland recommendations - endorsed by the Scottish Government - necessitate a radical and innovative rethink of transport strategy, not just a re-spray of previous policy.
“As a document purporting to set out the vision for transport strategy and improvements in the north-east of Scotland for the next twenty years, the RTS is underwhelming in both regards.
"It neither addresses the needs of all citizens, nor adequately addresses the legal requirements placed on local government to comply with climate and environmental protection.”
The A96 Action Group asserts that in supporting the remaining dualling options for the A96 (East of Huntly to Aberdeen), Nestrans are riding roughshod over the unquestionable climate change impact and environmental damage of the proposed new road, and are failing to recognise that online dualling through Inverurie is highly cost effective, fully compliant with modern road standards and the most appropriate solution for the A96.
A96 Action member Dr Astley Hastings said: “Much has been said about a post Covid-19 “green recovery” but this is not adequately reflected in the RTS documentation or proposed policies and measures.
"Available capital for transport infrastructure must be directed towards supporting behavioural change and improving public transport in a way to make it the transport method of convenience and choice.
"In addition, large economic developments, particularly those identified as key growth areas in the Local Development Plan along the A90 north corridor should be supported.
"As an example, the fishing industry will be a key growth area for the region post-Brexit and will require vastly improved transport infrastructure to properly support the industry.
“Throughout the RTS documentation, it is apparent that there is a desire to connect all arterial routes to the north of Aberdeen to the A96.
"This strategy is inconsistent with available junction volume capacity data and will most probably cause excessive congestion on the A96 because this strategy does not effectively distribute traffic around the AWPR.”
A96 Action says that, in summary, if this was a school report it would read “disappointing, must try harder”.
They state that the RTS must be updated to reflect the vastly different circumstances in the north east - downturn in the oil industry and increased home working - over the past twelve months and the required changes to transport policy detailed in the reports from numerous government advisory bodies.