Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route

Scottish Executive Question Time — Finance and Sustainable Growth – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:15 pm on 7th October 2010.

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Photo of Richard Baker Richard Baker Labour 2:15 pm, 7th October 2010

To ask the Scottish Executive on what date it estimates that work is likely to commence on the construction of the Aberdeen western peripheral route. (S3O-11578)

Photo of Stewart Stevenson Stewart Stevenson Scottish National Party

As we have made clear on a number of occasions, the legal challenges submitted to the Court of Session have already caused significant delay to the construction of the Aberdeen western peripheral route. We remain totally committed to delivering the project and to its being completed as soon as possible, but we have no alternative but to wait for the outcome of the appeals before substantial progress can be made on that much-needed project.

Photo of Richard Baker Richard Baker Labour

Does the minister agree that the delays to the commencement of construction of the western peripheral route have made it all the more important to address congestion in Aberdeen by not delaying other important transport improvements, including the improvements at the Haudagain roundabout? The minister has said that that work should not begin before the western peripheral route is completed. Why is that approach necessary?

Photo of Stewart Stevenson Stewart Stevenson Scottish National Party

The member will know that we have identified the nature of the intervention for the Haudagain roundabout and that we are continuing to make the necessary preparations. One of the issues in relation to the Haudagain roundabout is the fact that the major contribution to relieving congestion at that part of Aberdeen's road network will be the opening of the Aberdeen western peripheral route itself. For reasons of good use of public funds, we want to draw together a range of transport interventions in Aberdeen in a single funding package. To proceed in any other way would significantly increase the costs and create a range of difficulties in the current—and, indeed, any other—climate.

Photo of Alex Johnstone Alex Johnstone Conservative

I wrote to the minister on 1 February, asking whether he would consider including the A90/A937 junction redevelopment in the contracts for the AWPR. A reply from David Middleton contains the line:

"As the statutory procedures have still not been completed, it is too early to say whether or not any new elements could be included in the procurement process."

Eight months later, is it still "too early to say"?

Photo of Stewart Stevenson Stewart Stevenson Scottish National Party

We are seeking to bring together a range of transport interventions in one large package that will give us economies of scale. Subject to approval being granted, those will include the Balmedie-Tipperty intervention, a number of park-and-ride facilities, the Haudagain roundabout and the AWPR. However, as we have not yet moved to a position of financial close on a range of projects, we are in a position to achieve further economies of scale by looking at other opportunities.