Home   News   Article

WATCH: Only one piece of land bought for A96 Nairn Bypass since 2011


By Federica Stefani



The A96 road going through Nairn locator. Picture: James Mackenzie.
The A96 road going through Nairn locator. Picture: James Mackenzie.

by Federica Stefani and Lewis McBlane

Since 2011 only one piece of land has been bought by the Scottish Government as part of the development of the A96 Nairn bypass, it has been revealed.

According to information obtained by Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant through a freedom of information request, the only land that has been purchased to date for the scheme is a property in Milton of Culloden and no land has been purchased by compulsory means to date.

Ms Grant, who questioned Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Fiona Hyslop in the Scottish Parliament Chamber yesterday, said this was "unacceptable".

She said: “The cabinet secretary has again given a commitment to dualling the A96 from Inverness to Nairn, including the Nairn bypass.

“Therefore, I was surprised to discover through an FOI that only one piece of land has been bought so far, at Milton of Culloden, and that no other compulsory purchase orders have been made.

“How much land will the cabinet secretary require to be purchased for that piece of work, and when will it be completed?”

Rhoda Grant addresses the chamber
Rhoda Grant addresses the chamber

Speaking after the topical questions, she added: “This Scottish Government have clearly let this project stall which is unacceptable given the safety concerns related to this road. Residents and commuters are also being left in the dark. It is not fair nor is it acceptable given this was a 2011 pledge.

“It is vital that this dualling project gets underway. The road as it stands is not safe and nor is it fit-for-purpose for modern use.”

To this, Ms Hyslop replied that there are statutory process and a stage process in relation to the work that is required.

“The made orders will enable the compulsory purchase orders for that section to be delivered, and we expect to announce that in the first quarter of 2024, which is very soon indeed.”

This comes after an investigation by the Northern Scot revealed that the 2030 deadline for the A96 dualling had been abandoned – which was denied by First Minister Humza Yousaf.

In the same session Ms Hyslop was also questioned by MSP Fergus Ewing about the three-year delay on the delivery of the made orders necessary for the advancement of works on the A96 between Inverness and Auldearn.

He said: “On the 19th of February 2021, the then cabinet secretary, Michael Matheson, announced that the made orders for the Nairn bypass and the dualled section of the A96 from Inverness would be issued that summer.

“Three years on, they still have not been made.

Fiona Hyslop MSP Picture: Callum Mackay..
Fiona Hyslop MSP Picture: Callum Mackay..

“Has that three-year delay been deliberate, or is it a matter of time before they can be made available?

“As a means of ensuring that the Scottish Government does not have to spend the money on delivering its promise for a Nairn bypass, for which my constituents have waited more than 15 years.

“If the cabinet secretary refutes that proposition—will she now publish a detailed plan

setting out when construction will begin and when it will be completed?

“The cabinet secretary will not publish a detailed plan setting out when construction will begin and when it will be completed.”

Fergus Ewing MSP. Picture: Callum Mackay..
Fergus Ewing MSP. Picture: Callum Mackay..

Ms Hyslop replied: ’“As I advised Mr Ewing during our recent meeting, Transport Scotland is pressing forward with the significant work that is required to publish the made orders for the A96 Inverness to Nairn, including the Nairn bypass.

“I look forward to that happening in the first quarter of 2024, which also includes provision for the compulsory purchase orders, with the view that we can

complete the statutory process for the scheme.

“Delivery of the scheme, as he well knows, can commence only if approved by the minister.

“I am pleased to say that, as I said in my previous statement, we will continue to work with the Scottish Government to ensure that the scheme is completed under the relevant statutory authorisation process.

“Thereafter, a timetable for progress can be set in line with available budgets."


Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More