Caithness Map :: Links to Site Map Great value Unlimited Broadband from an award winning provider  

 

A9 Is Putting Brake On Development Say Firms

11th July 2006

OVER 60 per cent of businesses surveyed in the Highlands and Central Belt want the A9 road to be fully dualled between Inverness and Perth, according to a report commissioned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

The survey was carried out as part of a broad ranging research programme by HIE to determine the future transport investment priorities for the region - identifying the options that will best support long-term economic development.

Study authors Reference Economic Consultants probed the perceptions of 74 public sector bodies, businesses organisations and companies located in the Highlands, the North-East and the Central Belt with regard to the A9 and A96.

The report concludes: "It should be of concern to HIE and other stakeholders that significant proportions of business organisations and companies view the road links to one of Scotland's five cities as unsatisfactory."

Results showed that within the region, key concerns about the A9 centred around perceptions that the road was unsafe due to the mix of single and dual-carriageway sections; and that a lack of overtaking opportunities and the build-up of vehicle 'platoons' made driving stressful and hard work.

Outside the Highlands, the majority of businesses had a negative perception of the A9, and almost every one considered the journey from the Central Belt to Aberdeen - because it is largely dual carriageway - to be much better than the trip up the A9 to Inverness. Nearly three-quarters of those asked said they felt the road quality was constraining development in the A9 catchment area.

The strongest criticism came from companies which do business in the Highlands and Islands but don't have a base in the region.

Some of these businesses stated: "Unless the arterial route (A9) is upgraded then development will suffer"; and "It is harming the growth of the Highlands". One manufacturer commented that in the summer months delays occurred on the road causing time slots for onward air freighting to be missed, and that "this happens too much."

The A96 was also viewed negatively by businesses and sectoral organisations outside the Highlands. Problems were identified along its entire length with particular criticisms including the presence of agricultural traffic, the passage through rather than around settlements and specific bottlenecks. Upgrading the road was seen as a priority particularly among those based in Moray.

Rail services along both corridors were viewed as being complementary to the roads by respondents, with use of both modes at different times and depending on circumstances. Perceptions of rail services were generally negative, with limited frequencies and long journey times highlighted as the main weaknesses. However, investment in the rail network was not seen as an alternative to upgrading the roads, with only 13% of business respondents in favour of investment in the Inverness-Perth rail line instead of the A9.

Tony Jarvis, Transport Policy Manager at HIE said, "This report confirms many conversations we have had with the business community which point consistently to the need to upgrade the A9 and A96 if the area is to develop effectively and sustainably over the long-term.

"Indeed we firmly believe that upgrading these key routes, as well as their complementary rail services, represent significant projects at a Scottish level - they are a vital part of the nation's transport infrastructure."

Charlie King, Chairman of HITRANS, the Regional Transport Partnership charged with formulating transport strategy for the Highlands, said: "We are still working towards a final draft strategy document but it would be surprising if the key arterial routes to the Highlands do not emerge as a priority. The A9 and A96 serve an enormous catchment from the Inner Moray Firth through to the islands and improvement to such an important route has to be of substantial benefit to the social and economic fortunes of the
area."

Currently only 45km of the 174km of the A9 from Perth to Inverness is dual-carriageway. On the A96, only 17km out of 157km from Aberdeen to Inverness is dualled, with almost all of this between Aberdeen and Inverurie.

See the suvey of Business Perceptions of therA9 and A96 -
Here


 

Related Businesses

 

Related Articles

Highlands and Islands Enterprise Look To Hi-tech To Improve Fish IndustryThumbnail for article : Highlands and Islands Enterprise Look To Hi-tech To Improve Fish Industry
The transnational project, called ‘DisruptAqua', is worth €155,000 and is being supported by the European Union's Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme (NPA) 2014-2020.   As the demand for fish is increasing, the innovative use of existing and new technologies is required.  
Report Highlights Importance Of Social Enterprises To Scotland's Rural EconomyThumbnail for article : Report Highlights Importance Of Social Enterprises To Scotland's Rural Economy
Social enterprises are a critical part of the rural economy contributing £250m in the Highlands and Islands and South of Scotland areas.   This is according to new figures released by HIE and South of Scotland Economic Partnership (SoSEP).  
Wellness Tourism: A market you can't afford to miss!Thumbnail for article : Wellness Tourism:  A market you can't afford to miss!
Wellness Tourism is worth over £500bn worldwide, and has grown more than twice as fast as tourism overall.   Join us for the latest series of ‘TUNE INTO TOURISM', and explore how you can capitalise on this growing trend.  
£465k Digital And Innovation Support Programme Announced
Businesses in the Highlands and Islands looking to develop their use of digital technology and innovation are set to benefit from a new £465,000 support programme.   Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) announced the investment on Monday 30 September 2019 at a digital collaboration event to launch the refreshed #hellodigital facility in An Lochran, Inverness.  
EU delegation visit Highland social enterprises
Fourteen delegates from organisations across Europe that are tackling socio-economic challenges will visit the Highlands this week.   The visit is part of the next project meeting of the Support Network for Social Entrepreneurs (SuNSE) and will take place during 1-3 October in Inverness and Sutherland.  
Survey Finds Majority Of Highlands And Islands Businesses Use Fair Work Practices
The latest Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) Business Panel Survey published today (10 September) shows that 89% of companies across the region are offering benefits such as competitive levels of pay, training and skills development, flexible working and paying the living wage.   Over a thousand businesses across the region took part in the latest survey conducted between 10 June and 8 July.  
Public Invited To Share Views On Satellite Launch Site Proposals
Plans to create a spaceport that will launch communications satellites into orbit from the Moine peninsula in Sutherland are set to be unveiled for discussion at public meetings over the next two months.   Development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), which is backing the £17.3m project to design and build Space Hub Sutherland, has today (Wednesday 4 September) lodged a proposal of application notice with the Highland Council.  
Social business programme launches across the Highlands and Islands
People with a business idea that will benefit their local community or environment will soon have access to a new programme of support, being launched across the Highlands and Islands.   Known as the Social Start-Up School, the innovative programme will be delivering four locally focused initiatives.  
HIE Sells Centre For Health Science In InvernessThumbnail for article : HIE Sells Centre For Health Science In Inverness
Highlands and Islands Enterprise has sold the to the University of the Highlands and Islands in a deal worth £9.83m.   Funded by a loan from Scottish Funding Council, the sale will consolidate and help further develop the university's School of Health, Social Care and Life Sciences.  
Lease option agreed for Space Hub Sutherland
The owners of land earmarked for the Space Hub Sutherland development on the Moine Peninsula have agreed a lease option with developer, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).   Representatives of Melness Crofters Estate (MCE) and HIE signed the agreement yesterday (Wednesday 31 July).  

[Printer Friendly Version]