Local MSP Rhoda Grant, Labour has raised her concerns over the condition of the NC500 route with Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs in the Scottish Government.
A constituent had contacted Rhoda Grant saying “we used to drive on the left of the road, but now we have to drive on what’s left of the road”.
Rhoda Grant wanted to know what assistance the Government was giving to Highland Council to repair the NC500 given that it has over 7000km of road to maintain of which over 830km is the NC500.
Fiona Hyslop replied that she was not the Transport Minister and that Highland Council was responsible.
Speaking afterwards Rhoda Grant said:
“Clearly the Government have no plans to assist Highland Council maintain over 7000 km of their roads never mind the 830 plus km of the NC500 as the Minister made clear during this particular exchange. She went onto say that the Labour and Conservative Parties had voted against the budget so there would be no extra funding available.
“The Labour Party had proposed an alternative budget that would have allowed more funding to have come to Local Authorities for such things as road improvements.
“This was a serious point I was trying to raise on behalf of constituents which is affecting many road users in the Highlands and instead of offering understanding, sympathy or support to these road users the Cabinet Secretary chose to try and score a cheap political point.
“I understand that there is a 1.2billion backlog of road repairs required in Scotland. How are these repairs going to be undertaken if the Government do not come in and support local Authorities.”
The North Coast 500 (NC500) was created in 2015 by the non-profit North Highland Initiative.
“The concept of the NC500 was developed in order to create a tourism product that the whole of the North Highlands could benefit from ” NC500
Beginning and ending at Inverness Castle “the route path naturally follows the main roads across the coastal edges of the North Highlands taking in the villages and towns of places like Ullapool, Durness, John O’Groats, Dornoch and Inverness.”
The NC500 has become very popular and has seen a considerable increase in traffic using it.