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Scottish Government urged not to ditch vital A90 upgrades at Toll of Birness

By David Porter

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MP David Duguid and councillor Gillian Owen have called for assurances that the junction upgrade will still go ahead.
MP David Duguid and councillor Gillian Owen have called for assurances that the junction upgrade will still go ahead.

Campaigners have urged the Scottish Government not to ditch vital A90 upgrades at Toll of Birness.

Ellon councillor Gillian Owen, who runs the Why Stop at Ellon campaign, and Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid called for clarity on the situation amid fears the Green Party will try to block proposals to improve the “terrifying” route.

It comes after Green north-east MSP Maggie Chapman said the dualling of the A96 wouldn’t be viable for environmental reasons.

She claimed the Scottish Government has to “look at all big infrastructure projects and consider very carefully what it is we’re trying to achieve with them”.

The Scottish Conservatives have backed proposals to install a roundabout at both the Toll of Birness and Cortes junctions as well as introducing “2+1 lanes” further north, to Peterhead and Fraserburgh, to enable safer overtaking.

The measures have been included in transport body Nestrans’ 2040 strategy, which outlines the areas it will prioritise over the next two decades.

Councillor Owen voiced concerns that a road block might be put in front of the A90 plans following the formation of the new SNP-Green coalition.

She said: “I’m deeply concerned that the power sharing pact between the SNP and Greens may lead to upgrades across the north-east like the Toll of Birness being scrapped.

“This would be absolutely catastrophic for our area which is why I’m urging the Scottish Government to give some clarity on the situation following the details which emerged about the A96 being at risk.

“The north-east is the engine room of Scotland and without proper connectivity, businesses and jobs will continue to suffer.

“When the central belt has a traffic jam it seems like an upgrade is instantly provided while our region is forgotten about.

“The very least residents deserve is some firm timescales and some clarity that these vital upgrades will happen.”

David Duguid MP added: “I was alarmed by the comments from the Greens on the A96, highlighting that they want to block all major road upgrades which is simply unthinkable.

“The Scottish Government must not turn their back on residents living in the likes of Peterhead and Fraserburgh by scrapping any plans for the A90 at Toll of Birness as a result of what is happening with the A96 proposals.

“Historically, there has been cross-party agreement on this and I hope improvements on the A90 won't be in danger with the addition of the greens.

“We have had a terrifying number of collisions on the road, many of which have tragically resulted in lives being lost.

“Peterhead and Fraserburgh harbours provide a huge amount to our economy yet the main route to and from these towns is not fit for purpose.

“I urge the Scottish Government to give concrete assurances that this project won’t be in jeopardy because of the addition of the Greens.”

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