Buchan to lose out on £504 million deal?

Plans have been mooted to reopen transport links between Peterhead and fraserburgh and Aberdeen
Plans have been mooted to reopen transport links between Peterhead and fraserburgh and Aberdeen

Buchan may be left empty handed in the £504 million investment deal by the Scottish and UK Governments to improve the North East.

Peterhead and Fraserburgh have been mooted for improved transport links in an ongoing strategic study by Nestrans but today’s multi-million pound deal does not appear to include the two towns.

Alison McInnes,Lib Dem MSP for the North East, said: “Peterhead, Fraserburgh and other ports and towns still provide a great deal, not only to the local economy but to the Scottish economy as a whole.

“Once the dust has settled after this announcement, we need to see more detailed plans from both governments, partner bodies like Nestrans and the councils specifically outlining how this money will be used.”

Transport links, including re-establishing railway links to the Buchan areas and dualling the A90 north of Ellon are some of the possibilities being looked at by Nestrans in their ongoing Fraserburgh and Peterhead to Aberdeen Strategic Transport Study.

However in the spending out lay for the £254 million put forward by the Scottish Government there is no mention of these projects.

Derick Murray, Nestrans Director, said: “Both the £250 million City Region Deal and the additional £254million announced by the Scottish Government will pave the way for significant improvements to the region’s transport infrastructure.

“Whilst there are no specific projects planned to the north of Aberdeen at this time, there are a large number of projects under construction already which will open up this area.”

The Nestrans director highlighted the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR), and the Balmedie to Tipperty road as such projects , but both of these don’t pass Ellon.

Dr Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff and Buchan, hopes that there may be room in the joint £250 million “City Deal” between the two governments to invest in Buchan.

Ms Whiteford said: “I have had assurances on that and I will be continuing to raise that the Banff and Buchan area get their share.

“I’m really keen to make sure that the north of Aberdeenshire is able to benefit from this very welcome investment.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The City Region Deal Heads of Terms agreement signed today, and the additional £254m of Scottish Government investment, responds to the priorities identified by the Aberdeen city and shire leaders.

“We have a very clear commitment in the deal to a rigorous transport appraisal, which will include exploring options across the region.”