14. Programme Recommendations
With respect to identifying areas where the A9 dualling programme could potentially realise quick wins, in terms of bringing schemes forward for construction programming, SEA considers that the programme should prioritise the least environmentally constrained areas to enable additional time for iterative design and approvals on the more constrained areas.
SEA considers that the areas of least constraint, which therefore have potential to be developed in a shorter time-scale and be brought to construction earlier in the programme, include:
- Section F, connecting the dual carriageways from Tomatin north past Moy.
- Section D, from Dalwhinnie north to Crubenmore dual carriageway.
- Section E, from Crubenmore dual carriageway past Ralia towards Ruthven.
- Section C, Struan/ Pitagowan to Glen Garry dual carriageway.
- Section F, from Carrbridge to the dual carriageway at Slochd.
- Section A from Luncarty to Pass of Birnam dual carriageway.
- Section B from Tay Crossing to the dual carriageway south of Ballinluig.
These sections are not constraint free, but are considered likely to present fewer environmental issues in terms of Natura sites, SSSI and flooding.
SEA considers that the areas of greatest constraint include:
- Section C, from Glen Garry dual carriageway through Drumochter and onto Dalwhinnie
multiple SAC, SPA, SSSI, restricted corridor through the Pass of Drumochter, multiple peat, wetland, protected habitat and species issues.
- Section E, from Ruthven past Kingussie to Kincraig
heavily designated, multiple SAC, SPA, Ramsar, Nature Reserve, SSSI, flood plain, etc.
- Section E from Dalraddy past Aviemore and Kinveachy to Carrbridge
multiple woodland, SAC, SPA, SSSI, Nature Reserve, etc.
- Section B around Pitlochry and through Killiecrankie battlefield.
These sections will need detailed iterative discussions with SNH, SEPA, CNPA and Historic Scotland to determine the most acceptable alignment and engineering solutions.
Care will need to be taken to ensure designated site boundaries are fully considered within single schemes.
The areas noted in Section C and Section E are the key areas recommended for discussion with stakeholders at a Natura/ Appropriate Assessment workshop during the SEA ER Consultation period.
These sections should be considered for early design scheduling to enable iterative review, consultations, supporting studies and approvals by relevant bodies, with construction considered later in the programme.