The Inquiry into the planning of the A9 at Killiecrankie has been punctuated by the coronavirus epidemic. Attention has been diverted from the A9 dualling project to concentrate resources on controlling the epidemic. Consequently, the reporter who is in charge of the Killiecrankie case was unable to complete his recommendation(s) in 2020 but expects to submit his report in the first quarter of 2021.

After the inquiry process officially closed, Transport Scotland lodged additional documents. A link to our comments is available on the
PLI page. In their extra documents, Transport Scotland suggested:

  • that the Reporter simply follow the findings given for other sections of the A9 project and approve the plan for Killiecrankie. We countered that if that were the correct way to proceed, it would deny the unique characteristics of the Killiecrankie section and undermine the integrity of an inquiry dedicated to this particular and historic section.
  • that it understood the need to have special regard of the setting of listed buildings. We countered that the late documents show that Transport Scotland failed to recognise a B-Listed wall in the planning of the Pitlochry to Killiecrankie section, let alone consider its setting, nor did it inform Scottish Ministers of the intention to demolish the listed structure. At Killiecrankie, the proposed infrastructure will be built within a few feet of a B-Listed wall. In this case it is doubly significant as, by historical association, the Listed wall serves as a marker for the important Roan Ruairridh settlement which existed at the time of the battle. The setting of the Listed wall will be compromised.

One of the first casualties of the Covid-lockdown was the National Trust for Scotland, a custodian of the historic and natural environments. To cut costs, the NTS closed its loss-making visitor centre at Killiecrankie. Plans have emerged to find a contractor to operate a café at the site in future but it remains unclear how cash-strapped NTS is to help mitigate the adverse impacts of construction on the battlefield, as Transport Scotland anticipate.

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson, says there is a need “to reset the system” to meet Scotland’s climate change ambitions as part of the economic recovery post Covid. The Draft Infrastructure Investment Plan for the next five years explores Scotland’s aim for a net zero carbon economy in the light of Covid.

Transport Scotland devised the Killiecrankie scheme using pre-Covid parameters. Some key data that informed decisions was outdated even before the inquiry. Latest advice from the World Health Organisation on noise limits has been ignored. (See
Noise page.) Improved safety figures following the installation of Average Speed Cameras and introduction of higher speed limits for HGVs at the end of 2014 were never considered. In the wake of the pandemic, changing travel patterns, new technology and ambitious targets to lower emissions all need to be taken into account.

The proposed scheme fails to preserve or enhance the historic environment. Post Covid it also fails to meet our ambitions for the natural environment.

To help protect this internationally important heritage asset, please sign the petition. (See right panel.)