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Campaigners protest A96 rebuild near Bennachie hills

The group want the environment to be preserved for future generations.

Bennachie: The proposal would see the road built near the hill range.
Bennachie: The proposal would see the road built near the hill range. Geograph

Campaigners in Aberdeenshire are protesting a Scottish government proposal to use an area of the Bennachie hills for the upgrade of the A96.

The Save Bennachie Campaign met with economy secretary Keith Brown to deliver a report on why it should be protected.

The upgrade of the A96 will see 26 miles of the road between Aberdeen and Inverness upgraded to a dual carriageway by 2030.

One possible route places the road closer to Bennachie, but campaigners maintain that this would be an inappropriate site and could be detrimental to safety, the environment and the economy.

Margaret Garden, from the campaign, said: "150,000 people visit Bennachie annually to walk or run or ride in its unspoilt environment.

"So you can imagine the impact of a dual carriageway on that, on the area, would just be a complete disaster.

"We support the building of a dual carriageway, we just want to make sure the natural beauty of Bennachie remains unspoiled for future generations."

Transport Scotland are currently assessing potential routes and say that they have been engaging with local opinion to take into account any feedback and concern.

Mr Brown said: "We are going through a process just now that allows for various proposals to be made.

"On the one side you've got the consultants and Transport Scotland looking at the engineering and on the other you've got local people who are very concerned to get the right solution in terms of the A96.

"Some of the suggestions made today have been taken on board by Transport Scotland.

"The purpose of going ahead with this project is to make sure that traffic can move more safely around the country. This will have an enormous economic benefit for the north east."

Additional reporting by Ben Philip.

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