HC Deb 19 November 1969 vol 791 cc1297-8
16. Mr. Dewar

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects to authorise work on the Stonehaven by-pass and the completion of the A92 between Stonehaven and Aberdeen as an express dual-carriageway.

Dr. Dickson Mahon

I cannot give the Stonehaven by-pass a high priority in the programme for the 1970s. The improvement to dual carriageway standard of the A92 between Stonehaven and Aberdeen will continue to be undertaken in sections, though I cannot yet say when the work will be completed.

Mr. Dewar

Will my hon. Friend accept that there really needs to be a very drastic improvement in the road communications between the north-east of Scotland and the central belt if the economy of the area is to prosper, and will he please give the most urgent consideration both to the speeding up of the work on the dual carriageway and to reconsidering his very disappointing decision on the by-pass, because the patience of many people in the area is very badly strained?

Dr. Mabon

My hon. Friend is becoming too agitated about this matter. I must tell him that the communications with the North-East are really quite good. The improvement we are proposing at Dunnottar Avenue will relieve congestion in the summer at the town of Stonehaven. I accept my hon. Friend's point that in the long term we should make substantial improvements. It is the question of phasing them which is very important.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

Does the Minister of State realise that this road serves not only Stonehaven but the whole of the north-east of Scotland, including the City of Aberdeen, and that there is a very real sense of urgency in, this area and a feeling that he is not giving it special attention but just passing the buck instead of making a decision?

Dr. Mabon

That is most unjust, because I have written letters to many people to give a full explanation about the way we are selecting the priorities that we are in the North-East, and I may say that we have had no complaints from those to whom we are giving grants, but complaints only from those further down the queue. Stonehaven happens by chance to be one.

Mr. Hector Hughes

Will the Minister bear in mind that the works mentioned in this Question are of the utmost importance from the industrial and tourist and every other point of view to the City of Aberdeen, and will he, therefore, take immediate steps to see that these works are constructed and dealt with?

Dr. Mahon

The answer to the first part of the supplementary question is, yes, and to the last part, no.