Conflicting remarks on A9/A96 dualling
A Highland politician has called for the Scottish Government to make it clear what is happening to the £5 billion dualling of the A9 and A96 roads.
Scottish Green Party MSP John Finnie put the question to Transport Scotland's director of roads Hugh Gillies during a parliamentary connectivity committee last week.
He asked the director: "For the avoidance of doubt, is there a review of whether we are going to continue with the dualling of the A9 and A96?"
Mr Gillies replied: "What I will say is that all of this is up for debate as part of the Strategic Transport Projects Review."
However following the exchange, Transport Scotland issued a statement saying it remained committed to dualling both the Inverness to Perth road and the Inverness to Aberdeen route.
Speaking later, Mr Finnie said: "The Scottish Government first declared a climate emergency and we asked if everything was up to be reviewed.
"The First Minister said 'yes'. But then her deputy John Swinney said that this did not include the A9 and A96 dualling."
He continued: "We asked what were the implications of the climate emergency on maintaining the road-building programme.
"The government needs to make up its mind as it seems invidious to say there is a climate emergency and then not take any action."
Some members of the Scottish Green Party have called for cash to be diverted from the roads to a Highland main line rail upgrade.
They have said that such a move would reduce carbon emissions.
Construction work to dual the A9 between Inverness and Perth is scheduled to be completed in 2025.
Meanwhile the completion date for the A96 from Inverness to Aberdeen is some way off - it is anticipated it will be 2030 before the dualling on that route is in place.