MSP charged with having ‘little regard’ for Moray fears

Minister will not discuss dualling plans in Moray.
Minister will not discuss dualling plans in Moray.

AN SNP MINISTER has demonstrated “little regard” for projects taking place away from central Scotland after refusing to visit Moray and address concerns over the route of A96 dualling project.

That was the claim made by Tory MSP Douglas Ross after Keith Brown, the minister who has retained responsibility for the A96 project, refused to meet him in Moray to discuss the issue, insisting that any talks should take place only in the Edinburgh Parliament.

“I was initially delighted to learn back in May that Transport Scotland would be progressing the matter of the A96 dualling project by awarding a contract for route assessment work to be carried out, along with detailed design work for the section of this well used trunk road between Auldearn and Fochabers,” Mr Ross said.

He added: “This matter has been an issue of great concern to many constituents and to that end I felt it best to invite the Minister to come to Moray to both hear and see at first hand the concerns which have been raised with me.

“Given the importance of this project to both the local area and its wider impact on transport in the north east I was disappointed to be informed by letter that due to existing diary commitments Keith Brown would be unable to attend any meeting in Moray at this time but would be happy to meet in Parliament.

“Yet again the SNP show little regard for projects outwith the central belt and the importance of engaging with those most affected by any works undertaken. Holding discussions over a map table in Holyrood would do little to express the importance of the concerns which have been highlighted to me or for Ministers to better understand the unique geography of this project.

“I will discuss this with Ministers in Holyrood while continuing to seek a local meeting to ensure that the issues raised are fully understood and given proper consideration during this vital stage.”