Fears continue to grow that a pledge to fully dual the A96 between Inverness and Aberdeen will not be kept following publication yesterday of the First Minister's programme for government.

Campaigners in the Highlands also claim "trust is gone" after Humza Yousaf failed to answer when the A9 will be fully dualled between Perth and Inverness.

The first minister told MSPs his government is committed to improving the A96,

Fergus Ewing, MSP for Inverness and Nairn, said: "The first minister repeated positive noises on the A9 dualling and A96 dualling from Inverness to Nairn including the Nairn bypass.

"However, without the full detail people will not be persuaded - given the previous broken promises to dual these roads by 2025 and 2030 respectively."

Douglas Ross, leader of the Scottish Tories, pushed Mr Yousaf to confirm when the dualling of the A9 would be completed, but was met with silence.

Absolutely vital

Mr Ross said: "This is a crucial infrastructure project that is absolutely vital for Perthshire and the Highlands of Scotland. Indeed, for connectivity across our country.

"We had the highest death rate on that road last year in 20 years and the first minister can't say when his promise will be delivered."

It was back in 2011 when the SNP promised to dual the entire A96 from Aberdeen to Inverness.

But the pledge has been in doubt since the SNP struck a power-sharing deal with the Greens in 2021, leading to a review of the £3billion project.

Speaking on Tuesday, the first minister stopped short of committing to dualling between Aberdeen and Huntly, which is currently subject to a climate review.


Ryan Crighton, policy director at Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, told the Press & Journal: "People and businesses in the North-east have long been promised that the A96 will be dualled in its entirely.

"If that commitment has been dropped, there needs to be honesty and absolute clarity around how the Scottish Government intends to make this road safe and fit for purpose."

North-east Tory MSP Liam Kerr accused the first minister of having "betrayed" North-east communities and businesses by not including the full dualling of the A96 in his programme for government.

Click here to read more on this Press & Journal story.

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