Sturgeon urged to support calls to reverse tractor ban on AWPR

Peter Chapman is urging Nicola Sturgeon to speak up on behalf of our local farmers
Peter Chapman is urging Nicola Sturgeon to speak up on behalf of our local farmers

Nicola Sturgeon has been urged to support calls from north-east farmers to reverse a tractor ban on the new Aberdeen bypass.

The First Minister is due to attend the Turriff Show today – the largest summer event for the agricultural industry after the Royal Highland Show.

Scottish Conservative MSP Peter Chapman has challenged Ms Sturgeon to tell farmers if she is in favour of the restrictions planned for the new Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR).

Mr Chapman has written to Transport Scotland to seek clarity after local officials suggested that the bypass would be granted “special road” status, which would mean agricultural vehicles are excluded.

The issue was highlighted by farming industry body NFU Scotland during a round table discussion at the New Deer Show last month.

Farmers are concerned that they will have difficulty transporting livestock, particularly those looking to make the journey from Ellon to the other side of the city at Portlethen.

Mr Chapman said there is also the question of increased greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural vehicles being forced to travel through the city rather than using the AWPR.

Mr Chapman, who is also a local farmer, said: “Nicola Sturgeon is coming to the heart of the north-east farming community today.

“This presents an ideal opportunity to show that she supports local farmers and their call to be allowed to drive tractors on the new bypass.

“From the correspondence I have seen, it appears the AWPR will be given special road designation, meaning tractors won’t be allowed.

“My view is that this road is not a motorway, it is a dual carriageway and therefore tractors should be permitted to travel along the route.

“If not, we will be forcing agricultural vehicles through the middle of Aberdeen, which does nothing for efficiency, congestion or our greenhouse gas emissions.

“I have written to Transport Scotland, but I have yet to receive a response.

“I would urge Nicola Sturgeon to speak up today on behalf of our local farmers so that common sense can prevail and this ill-thought ban is lifted.”