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Options for A96 dualling highlighted

By SPP Reporter

MORE than 150 people went along to Rafford Village Hall for a drop-in event aimed at raising awareness of the plan to dual the A96.

People went along to Rafford Village Hall to find out what the A96 dualling project could mean for them
People went along to Rafford Village Hall to find out what the A96 dualling project could mean for them

The Forres Area A96 Dualling Action Group (FAADAG) organised the event to highlight the Scottish Government’s plans to dual th A96 between Forres and Fochabers.

Chairman Brian Higgs explained: “The group put on the event because of their concerns about the quality of information previously put out by Transport Scotland and an apparent lack of understanding of the project by people in the local community.”

He said their concerns were confirmed by the numbers of people attending the event including representatives from a number of the local community councils.

“People were particularly interested in the high quality maps on display which showed the possible route corridors about to be investigated in detail by Transport Scotland,” he said. “ Whilst people understood that there is more work to be done before the final route will be decided, there was concern amongst many of them that public money was being spent on evaluating Route N, which has been dubbed as a Moray By-pass by some people.

Mr Higgs who lives in Rafford said that this option, which takes a direct route from Forres to Fochabers through the Pluscarden valley, is seen by many to offer the area nothing but environmental damage and economic isolation.

Mr Higgs called on Moray Council to make its position clear on the A96 project and said there is a need for a local strategy on the A96.

“We urge the Moray Council to not just sit back and wait for a fait accompli to be presented to them by Transport Scotland,” he said. “What the people of Moray need is a proactive approach by the council, local business and other interested parties to develop the right A96 solution for the area.”

He has previously stated that the group want to work with the Scottish Government, Transport Scotland, Moray Council and the people of Forres and the surrounding area, to ensure that a plan is implemented which provides the maximum social and economic benefit to the area whilst minimising any adverse impact on the health and wellbeing of the people of the area; the environment, landscape, ecology as well as historic and cultural heritage of the area.

“Whilst as a group we welcome the potential benefits that improved road connectivity could bring to the area, we want to ensure that the local implications of the proposed A96 dualling are properly considered,” he said. “The reality is that some communities are going to be affected by the route finally chosen for the dualled A96.”“None of us necessarily want it to be our own community, but the group has concluded that as long as the decisions made by the government, and their agents Transport Scotland, are evidence based, and take due cognisance of impacts at local level, then we must accept whatever final decisions are taken.”

He said one of the key concerns is the lack of awareness amongst the majority of the people of Forres, and the surrounding area, of what is being considered by Transport Scotland. FAADAG wish to ensure that members of the public potentially impacted by the A96 proposals understand, at the earliest stage, what is being considered.

More information is availabler at www.faadag.org or on their Facebook page.

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