2.1 The Consultation Process

Participation and consultation are central to any transport planning exercise undertaken in accordance with STAG to assist in identifying problems, setting the transport planning objectives and developing options. Early and continued consultation was undertaken with the steering group and with key stakeholders throughout the duration of the project. Adopting this practice assisted in cultivating a transparent planning process, which should in turn lead to the development of generally acceptable transport improvement proposals.

The consultation process for the project has included a series of meetings with the steering group, a study specific questionnaire and workshops with key stakeholders and requests to various organisations for any information considered relevant in meeting the objectives of the project.

2.2 Project Steering Group

A steering group comprising key organisations was defined for the project. The group included representatives from the following organisations:

  • HITRANS (Project Co-ordinator)
  • Transport Scotland - Strategy & Investment Directorate (Project Manager)
  • Scottish Executive - Transport Group: Transport Strategy, Local Authorities and Partnerships
  • Scottish Executive - Transport Group: Analytical Services
  • Scottish Executive - Transport Group: Bus Freight and Roads Policy
  • Transport Scotland - Strategy & Investment Directorate (Rail Strategy)
  • Transport Scotland - Trunk Road Infrastructure & Professional Services
  • Highland Council
  • Moray Council
  • Aberdeenshire Council - Transportation and Infrastructure
  • Aberdeen City Council - Planning and Infrastructure
  • Highlands and Islands Enterprise
  • Scottish Enterprise Grampian

2.3 Project Stakeholders

Throughout the project, consultations have been undertaken, within the defined project programme, with a range of key stakeholders including the local authorities, local communities, local business interests and public transport service providers.

A list of key stakeholders identified for the project is shown below.

  • Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce
  • Aberdeen Cycle Forum
  • BAA Aberdeen Airport
  • Confederation of Passenger Transport
  • First Aberdeen
  • First ScotRail
  • Freight Transport Association
  • Grampian Fire and Rescue Services
  • Grampian Police
  • Highland Area Tourism Partnership
  • Highland Council
  • Highland Cycle Forum
  • Highland Rail Partnership
  • Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd
  • Highlands and Islands Fire Brigade
  • Historic Scotland North East Team
  • Historic Scotland North West Team
  • Inverness Chamber of Commerce
  • Moray Chamber of Commerce
  • National Farmers Union
  • National Trust for Scotland
  • Network Rail (Scotland)
  • North East Scotland Rail Freight Development Group
  • Northern Constabulary Police
  • Paths for all Partnership
  • RAC Foundation - Scottish Office
  • RAF Kinloss
  • RAF Lossiemouth
  • Rapsons Group
  • Road Haulage Association
  • Scottish Ambulance Service
  • Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (Aberdeen)
  • Scottish Natural Heritage (HQ)
  • Stagecoach (Inverness)
  • Stagecoach Bluebird (Aberdeenshire)
  • Sustrans Scotland
  • The AA Motoring Trust
  • Transport Scotland (Network Management)

2.4 Questionnaires and Workshops

A series of consultations has taken place with the key stakeholders during the course of the project including:

  • A project questionnaire, issued on 29 August 2006;
  • 1st Stakeholder Workshop on 26 October 2006 in Elgin; and
  • 2nd Stakeholder Workshop on 12 December 2006 in Elgin

A study specific questionnaire was developed to assist in establishing existing conditions along the transport corridor, identifying any problem areas and opportunities for improvement that may exist, and identifying the key transport objectives for the corridor. All identified stakeholders were invited to complete a questionnaire prior to the workshop considering all modes of transport to ensure that all key issues were identified for consideration as part of the study.

The main objectives of the stakeholder workshops were to involve various interested bodies, i.e. stakeholders and other organisations, in the initial stages of the transport corridor study process, to listen, discuss and take into consideration other views on how the transport corridor is perceived to operate and how it might develop in the future.

The specific objectives of the first stakeholder workshop were to:

  • inform all stakeholders of the purpose, extent and details of the Aberdeen to Inverness Transport Corridor Study;
  • involve stakeholders in reviewing existing/future conditions, identifying problems and opportunities, and setting objectives;
  • establish the views of stakeholders on the problems along the corridor, identifying what they consider to be the most serious; and
  • enable stakeholders to understand the position of others and that priorities and solutions can conflict with each other.

The specific objectives of the second stakeholder workshop were to:

  • agree the SMART objectives developed for the Transport Corridor;
  • review and update the Do-Minimum / Reference Case for the corridor;
  • generate improvement options; and
  • sift the improvement options.

However, to date, there has been no public, open consultation on this study.