The Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR), published by Transport Scotland in 2008, set out the Scottish Government’s transport investment priorities over the coming decades.
Specific trunk road interventions emerging from the review included upgrading the A96 between Inverness and Nairn to dual carriageway and also a bypass at Nairn.
The intention to fully dual the A96 was thereafter announced in December 2011, when Scottish Ministers published their Infrastructure Investment Plan, which contained the commitment to dual the A96 between Inverness and Aberdeen, thus completing the dual carriageway network between all Scottish cities.
Route Options for the scheme were presented to members of the public in November 2013 and, following conclusion of the route options assessment process including consideration of vital feedback, the Preferred Option was announced in October 2014.
Following the development and assessment of the Preferred Option, draft Orders and the Environmental Statement were published on 29 November 2016. The draft Orders defined the line of the proposed new road and side roads, and the Environmental Statement outlined the anticipated effects of the scheme, both positive and negative, on the environment.
A number of representations were received to the draft Orders from landowners, members of the public and other stakeholders, and we worked to resolve objections where possible. A number of objections remained and therefore a Public Local Inquiry required to be held.
The Public Local Inquiry into the scheme commenced on 30 October 2018 and concluded on 20 November 2018. Evidence was heard by Reporters appointed by the Scottish Government’s Planning and Environmental Appeals Division. Following detailed consideration of all objections made but not withdrawn, and all evidence heard at the Public Local Inquiry, the Reporters provided recommendations to the Scottish Ministers for their determination.
Following careful consideration of the objections received along with the reasoned conclusions and recommendations of the Reporters, the Scottish Ministers have decided that the Orders should be made with modifications as proposed by Transport Scotland.