§ 1. Mr. Bill Walker
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans he has to change the current policy on roadside services on the A9 between Perth and Inverness.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Lord James Douglas-Hamilton)
My right hon. Friend will consider carefully the responses to our current consultation exercise before deciding whether any change in A9 policy is desirable.
§ Mr. Walker
I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. He will realise that the A9 north of Perth is not a dual carriageway, although it should be. The plain truth is that the local communities—the bypass communities—wish to maintain the situation whereby they provide the services and facilities, because that means jobs. Lay-bys with toilet facilities and picnic facilities are required on the A9; that would adequately meet the demand both from the tourist trade and from other motorists.
§ Lord James Douglas-Hamilton
My hon. Friend makes a powerful and persuasive case, and we shall consider it sympathetically in the consultation exercise. The business interests of the bypass communities are extremely important, and our aim is to enhance the welfare of all the communities concerned. Tayside regional council's preferred location for a large roadside service area would be on the northern outskirts of Perth, and we shall keep my hon. Friend's thoughts on the subject very much in mind.