The Save Bennachie Campaign is a must win cause to protect Bennachie from the new, rerouted A96 dual carriageway. Two of the routes currently under consideration near Inverurie would impact Bennachie, Option C most severely.
We are deeply grateful to the North East Mountain Trust for their continued support as valued members of the Save Bennachie Alliance, and for their generous recent donation towards Campaign funds. We are using this to purchase a roadside banner.
Design consultants, Amey Arup Joint Venture were appointed by Transport Scotland in 2017 for the full Design Manual for Roads and Bridges Stage 2 Route Options Assessment, part of a 20 year, up to £50 million contract covering the design and delivery of the Eastern Section, Huntly-Aberdeen. They are currently assessing the various route corridors, and by the end of 2018, will announce those selected to be taken forward. Keith Brown, Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work will take the final decision on the actual route, which will be announced in 2019.
The Save Bennachie 2018 Campaign Report was launched in Holyrood in January at a reception attended by Keth Brown, Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, several North East MSPs and Transport Scotland officials. The following provides a tiny flavour of the Report, full details of which, along with details of our Campaign including a map with the route options can be found at www.savebennachie.com
The Save Bennachie Alliance has massive and ever growing public support-now over 1000 individuals signed up through the website and receiving our Newsletters, 2700 Facebook followers, teaming up with 15 community, outdoor, environmental and business groups which represent tens of thousands. ALL North East MSPs MPs and Lord Bruce of Bennachie as well as numerous Local Councillors are backing us.
Awarded Special Landscape Area status, Bennachie is beloved locally, nationally and internationally. It is unspoiled, its wildlife, ecology, geology, unique folklore, history and archaeology combine to make Bennachie Aberdeenshires finest. It is home to several rare and notable species of wildlife. Bennachie is a massively used resource, with 150,000+ visiting annually for recreational purposes. This at a time when Scottish Government policy is to encourage us to be active and outdoors in an effort to improve the nations health and reduce incidence of chronic conditions.
All sorts of events are run by clubs on and around the hill, including hill races, cycle races, triathlons, duathlons, Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme expeditions, equestrian events to name but a few. Outdoor education is part of the Curriculum for Excellence - 1000 children from 29 schools visited Bennachie last year for curricular related activities. The Bailies of Bennachie, with whom we work hand in hand, and the Forestry Commission Rangers also run numerous popular events covering all ages.
An unspoiled Bennachie already has significant economic value to the Garioch area; this will become even more important as the tourism sector is predicted to expand, whilst the oil and gas sector declines. Apart from the environmental, social, economic, community and health benefits of Bennachie, additional reasons for opposing the routes which would impact Bennachie include the safety, costly maintenance and winter resilience of such a high-level route, at a time when the Scottish Government target is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 66% by 2032.
Siting the arterial route at such a distance from centres of population and industry would have a negative impact on economic growth and offer no opportunity for promoting an integrated transport network and the use of public transport. Route C, over 15 miles long, which would have the greatest impact on Bennachie, would have to be built in its entirety-expending a huge portion of public funds.
The Save Bennachie Campaign believes siting the new dual carriageway to the east of Inverurie would offer exciting opportunities to add value to the area; as per calls from Aberdeenshire Councils Infrastructure Committee, Transport Scotland has a rare opportunity through joined up thinking with Aberdeenshire Council, to implement the most effective and economically sound solutions for both the A96 and A947 projects.
Each working day, 68% of traffic approaching Inverurie on the A96 from the south turns into Inverurie, causing major traffic congestion and safety concerns in the town. Any route to the west of Inverurie is a missed opportunity to alleviate this problem.
The Save Bennachie Campaign is working very hard to bring these and other issues to the attention of the decision-makers. The next few months, whilst the routes are being assessed will be critical to the future of an unspoiled Bennachie. That is why it is so important for all who love and value this special place and who want to preserve it for future generations to support this campaign, lobby the key influencers, take part in the consultation events and say a huge NO to both routes which would impact the Bennachie area.
If, as an individual, you want your support for the Save Bennachie Campaign to count, please go to our website, click on Join Us. Bennachie needs you right now!
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