Background- the Scottish Government has committed to dualling routes between Scotlands major cities, with the A96 Aberdeen-Inverness to be completed by 2030.
A number of route options are being considered near Inverurie, two of which would impact the Bennachie area, one especially severely.
Whilst 2030 might sound far away, in fact the preferred route will be decided upon in 2 years time. Thats why it is so important for the Save Bennachie Alliance to spread the word now of the threat to the hill.
The Save Bennachie Alliance has been running for just over a year. Our purpose is to protect the Bennachie area from any encroachment by this new dual carriageway. We believe there are numerous reasons making such a route both unsuitable and unacceptable-whilst siting it to the east of Inverurie would create exciting opportunities for the area. Working positively and constructively to influence the decision makers, full details of our rationale, maps of the potential routes and our resources can be found on our website, www.savebennachie.com
The past year has seen an upsurge of public support to protect our beloved and iconic hill. We now have over 700 individual members who have signed up through our website to receive our newsletters, 2350 Facebook followers, as well as a growing band of groups and clubs joining forces as part of the Alliance. The North East Mountain Trust is a valued member of our Alliance, standing alongside the Bailies of Bennachie, Mountaineering Scotland, the Cairngorm Club, Ramblers Scotland, the Cosmic Hillbashers, the Woodland Trust, and Community Councils/Associations including Kemnay, Kintore, Oyne, Cluny Midmar and Monymusk. These organisations have a combined membership of thousands, and we are extremely grateful for their support, along with each individual Save Bennachie member.
Always working positively and constructively, the past year has seen us in regular discussions with relevant transport bodies, including Transport Scotland, Aberdeenshire Council Roads Dept, and NESTRANs. Ours is a strictly non-political campaign, and we see this as a cross party issue. We have met with all North East MSPs, the local MP, and Lord Bruce of Bennachie. They all agree that Bennachie must be protected.
Our awareness raising has seen us distribute over 7000 flyers in the area. We have had several articles in the local press and even made it to BBC Reporting Scotland. Through social media our followers have been having fun with our logo, taking it to all corners of the globe, from Bennachie to itself, to Munroes and various locations across Scotland, to far flung places across Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, showing that no matter where in the world, Bennachie is beloved.
Latest news is that the design contract is now out to tender, with consultancies currently bidding for the 26 mile Aberdeen- Huntly section, including the route options which could impact Bennachie. The award of this £50 million, 2 year contract will be a key milestone for the process. By the end of this period, the consultants will have come up with their preferred option.
Once appointed, you can be sure the Save Bennachie team will be making contact with the consultants, to help them understand the myriad of reasons why it would be wholly inappropriate to site a dual carriageway on the foothills of Bennachie, and to demonstrate the strength of public opinion, and just why Bennachie is probably the most loved hill in Britain.
A reminder of how you can help: We firmly believe that if Bennachie is to be protected it will be the strength of public opinion which will be the key.
Please take a moment to visit our website and sign up for our Newsletters, like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. That way we can count your support. If you are out and about download our logo, take a picture of it and send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, once again, a very sincere thanks to the North East Mountain Trust for your continued support.
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