A96 upgrade between east of Fochabers and east of Huntly: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

I would like to know what state the dualling and bypass plans are at. The transport Scotland shows that the other three sections are in various stages of preparation, including the completion of route option assessments and draft orders. However there seems to be zero progress on the section East of Fochabers and West of Huntly. As a resident of Keith who lives directly on Moss Street, the creation of the Keith bypass is of the utmost importance as heavy vehicle traffic through the town is getting worse.
Can you please give any update on the status of planning for the dualling of this section if the A96 and also the status of the Keith bypass planning. I am happy to receive any reply via this email address


As all of the information you have requested is ‘environmental information’ for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA.

This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.

Please find below response to requests for information you made in your email.

As set out in 2023-24 Programme for Government (Programme for Government 2023 to 2024 - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)), the Scottish Government is committed to making improvements to the A96. The Scottish Government is committed to taking forward an enhancements programme on the A96 corridor that improves connectivity between surrounding towns, tackles congestion and addresses safety and environmental issues.

The current plan is to fully dual the route and, as part of this process, we are undertaking a transparent, evidence-based review of the programme which includes a climate compatibility assessment and other statutory assessments. This is sensible good governance for major investment of this kind.

The review is being undertaken in accordance with the Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG). It is considering the transport problems and opportunities on the A96 corridor, changing policy context and other relevant considerations such as development aspirations for the corridor and surrounding area.

A four week public consultation survey, undertaken as a key element of the review, generated unprecedented interest with almost 4,700 responses received and over 11,000 suggested options for improving the corridor.

Transport Scotland published the initial appraisal report (Initial Appraisal: The Case for Change Report) and the accompanying consultation report on 22 December 2022. Following the conclusion of this Initial Appraisal, a bypass of Keith is one of the interventions which has been taken forward for further appraisal. I can advise that Transport Scotland has been pushing forward with the detailed appraisal work to inform the review. It is expected that the draft outcomes of this review will be ready for public consultation in the coming months, before a final decision can be reached.

Further details of the work being undertaken as part of the A96 Corridor Review can be found on the Transport Scotland website at the following address: A96 Corridor Review | Transport Scotland

The evidence-led transport appraisal that supports the A96 Review, along with the feedback from stakeholders and the public will assist in planning how transport improvements along the corridor are prioritised and the review’s results will inform timescales going forward.

At the same time, preparation work continues on the dualling of the Inverness to Nairn section, including the Nairn bypass, which already has Ministerial consent following a public local inquiry and is therefore separate from the wider A96 review process. I can advise that Transport Scotland published Made Orders on 12 March 2024 with a view to completing the statutory procedures for the scheme. Further details on the scheme can be found at the following link: A96 Inverness to Nairn including Nairn Bypass | Transport Scotland As with all our major projects, delivery of the scheme can only commence if approved under the relevant statutory authorisation process and thereafter a timetable for progress can be set in line with available budgets.

I trust this is of assistance, however, if you are unhappy with this response to your EIR request, you may ask us to carry out an internal review of the response, by writing to:

Alison Irvine
Interim Chief Executive
Transport Scotland
36 North Hanover Street
2nd Floor
George House
G1 2AD

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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