HC Deb 03 February 1971 vol 810 cc1656-7
17. Mr. Maclennan

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement about the development of the A9 road north of Perth.

Mr. Gordon Campbell

To promote Highland development this road must be modernised. I expect later this year to announce proposals for the route between Inverness and Evanton, and I am studying the section between Perth and Inverness to determine the extent and priority of further improvements. Meanwhile a number of urgently-needed improvements are in progress and others will start this year.

Mr. Maclennan

Does the Secretary of State realise that that goes no further than the previous Government's commitment in the White Paper on Scottish Roads in the 1970s? Why is it that he has not so far given support to the proposal to bridge Dornoch Firth in the light of the encouraging remarks he made about this prior to his coming to office?

Mr. Campbell

In reply to the first point—we are taking the action. In reply to the second—it is almost exactly two years ago that I wrote to the right hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross), then Secretary of State, and raised the question of the short route north of Inverness and asked him to keep this open instead of going ahead with the Beauly Road. Because he agreed to do so, it enables me to take the decision shortly as a result of the studies which have been going on in recent months on bridging the Kessock Ferry and having a short route through the Black Isle.