Highland Council and partners set sights on £55m transport investment

A bid to fund the design and delivery of over GBP55m worth of transport infrastructure in the Scottish Highlands has been submitted to Transport Scotland. A partnership, including Highland Council, bus operators and other stakeholders have put together a package of measures to prioritise buses in congested parts of the network. The council argues that alongside walking, wheeling and cycling, public transport is a much more efficient use of road space and a more environmentally friendly way of moving around.

Highland Council believe that by making active travel and public transport safer, more convenient and more reliable, the region can deliver on its ambitions to become zero carbon and make a major step forward in tackling the climate and ecological emergency. The bid includes proposals to create park and ride sites around Inverness and Fort William, supported by priority bus lanes and junctions, as well as mini park and ride sites across the strategic road network. There is also plans for improvements in Dingwall and specific measures associated with tourists in Skye, Invergordon and Fort William respectively.

The council said that the proposals sets the ambition for the region to dramatically tackle its carbon footprint by reducing dependence on private cars, as well as ensuring that people have fair access to healthy transport choices. Commenting, Chair of Highland Council’s Economy and Infrastructure Committee, Councillor Trish Robertson said: “The Bus Partnership Fund offers the Highlands the chance of significant investment towards a modern and multi-modal transport network. This funding would support our recovery from Covid-19, both through construction jobs and helping buses to become more efficient and recover from this sustained period of reduced patronage.

If this bid is successful, it will give us a fantastic chance to work with partners to deliver major benefits for the region.

We look forward to working closely with Transport Scotland on the various proposals for the trunk road network, which are assets within their control, but make up a significant part of the transport network in our villages, towns and the city of Inverness.”