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26 August 2004

MSP's Fury at Further A90 Delay

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has reacted angrily to a response from Lib Dem Transport Minister Nicol Stephen that the Hatton Bends realignment scheme on the A90 has been delayed once again.

In a response to Mr Stevenson – who along with local MP Alex Salmond has been campaigning for the upgrade to be carried out – Nicol Stephen states that “difficulties have been experienced in the negotiations to acquire the necessary land which makes it likely that Compulsory Purchase Order procedures will require to be utilised. There have also been difficulties . . .with a nearby pipeline.”

Mr Stevenson commented:

“I have to say that I find this situation totally unacceptable. Successive Scottish Executive Transport Ministers have given varying explanations for the delay since 2000 and we appear to be no further forward.

“In April 2000, former Transport Minister Sarah Boyack advised then-MSP Alex Salmond in a Parliamentary Answer that work would commence on improving the Hatton Bends in 2001/02. At a meeting with Deputy Transport Minister Lewis Macdonald in March 2002, I was advised work would start by the end of 2002. The tender process then had to be re-advertised as only 2 contractors submitted bids and a new start date of September 2003 was given. This was then changed to October 2003 due to 'land and design problems'. Now, we appear to have an entirely new set of factors.

“I am not at all satisfied with this spectacular lack of progress from the Scottish Executive during the last four years and my constituents are most certainly not satisfied. With no local rail link into Aberdeen, a good road network is essential to keep the local economy moving and this delay is intolerable.

“I am again calling on the Transport Minister to get a grip of the situation and move heaven and earth, but mostly earth, to get this project completed as soon as possible.”

Stewart Stevenson
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