A Scottish MP is warning that the new deal between the ruling SNP and partners the Greens will affect road building in Scotland because he fears it will “not be as benign as the SNP is currently spinning”.
Kenny MacAskill, who quit the SNP for the rival nationalist Alba party earlier in the year, has written an opinion piece in The Scotsman newspaper where he says the Greens are “historically hostile to road investment and that won’t be tempered by office”.
“They were hostile to the commitment to dual the A9, despite the arguments made over the carnage that regularly occurred on it,” he writes. “Improvements and an increase in the HGV speed limit, albeit with average speed cameras brought in, are working. Accidents are reduced and the road’s far safer.”
He continues, “But the mantra was ‘roads bad and trams good’, and we were lumbered. So we’ll see but I’m sure it will have an impact and not for the good. Of course, investment in walking and cycling is to be welcomed. Public transport’s also fundamental to our society and the coronavirus pandemic has only made the challenges there harder.”
But he warns of negative effects on road improvements in the country adding, “There are road projects which are necessary for the country’s social and economic development, as well as being essential for the safety and quality of life of many communities. It’s not just the Rest and Be Thankful but many more across the country where action and upgrades have been long overdue. They can’t be culled by this deal. Suggestions that the A9 and A96 are covered by an opt-out on safety grounds ring hollow when progress on them has slowed, if not stalled anyway.”
He lists a number of other projects that he fears are in danger such as on the A96, A75 and Sheriffhall Roundabout on the City of Edinburgh bypass (pictured), warning “Those projects aren’t a highway to hell but essential, and mustn’t be lost as part of the price of this deal.”
(Picture – Transport Scotland)