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Monday, July 22, 2024

Scottish Parliament Committee Seeks Answers on A9 Dualling Project

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A Holyrood Committee has requested the Scottish Government provide documents on the A9 Dualling Project, prepared by Transport Scotland officials between 2012 and 2023, and has written to several former relevant Ministers requesting written evidence.

The Scottish Parliament’s Citizen Participation and Public Petitions Committee, who have been undertaking an Inquiry into the A9 Dualling Project have now written to Mairi McAllan, the Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport to request relevant documents are provided to the inquiry.

Previous Scottish Government Ministers, with responsibility for the A9 Dualling Project, including Nicola Sturgeon and Humza Yousaf, have also been issued with letters from the Committee requesting written evidence, specifically asking what advice they received during their time in the Transport or Infrastructure portfolios on progress towards dualling.

Following consideration of these responses, along with other evidence in relation to this inquiry, the Committee will review its next steps, including whether further written or oral evidence is needed.

In October the Committee took evidence from Alex Neil, in his capacity as the former Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment, during which Mr Neil indicated that a detailed plan for the completion of the dualling work was prepared by Transport Scotland officials in 2012.

To support the inquiry, the Committee has now requested a copy of this document, understood to be dated 28 May 2012.

The Committee had previously agreed to invite the current Cabinet Secretary to give evidence at the earliest possible opportunity after they or the Minister for Transport have provided the promised statement to Parliament in the Autumn on the revised timetable for dualling the A9.

The Cabinet Secretary has been invited to provide a written update in advance of this session.

Commenting, Convener of the Citizen Participation and Public Petitions Committee, Jackson Carlaw MSP said: 

“Following the evidence from Alex Neil, we’ve already heard that finishing the A9 dualling project 25 years late is ‘unacceptable’ and it’s clear that lessons need to be learned.

“This is important, not only to support completion of the A9 the earliest possible date, but also to understand what went wrong and how mistakes can be avoided in the future.

“The Committee have now requested the relevant documentation from the Scottish Government setting out what advice was provided by Transport Scotland to Ministers in 2012 regarding the project.

“In addition to this we’ve invited subsequent Ministers who held responsibility for A9 Dualling, including Humza Yousaf and Nicola Sturgeon to provide written evidence, following which we may invite them to appear in front of the Committee if deemed necessary.

“In the meantime, we eagerly anticipate the Cabinet Secretary’s promised update on the A9 Dualling Project to Parliament in the near future.”

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