It’s wonderful to see the UK and Scottish Governments investing in Moray with the £100M Moray Growth Deal, and to see the expansion of the University of Highlands and Island (UHI) in Moray with the proposed Moray Aerospace, Advanced Technology and Innovation Campus (MAATIC) now in the concept and design stage, with construction scheduled to start soon on the outskirts of Lossiemouth.

Like many new developments, MAATIC is incorporating an active travel route right from the get go, with concept designs including a shared use path between the campus at the Covesea Road junction with Drainie Road, to the south of RAF Lossiemouth, towards the existing shared use path between Elgin and Lossiemouth on the B9135, near Muirton.

Many people have been asking the LoMATR trustees if this planned route will affect our proposals for an active travel route along the B9040, between Hopeman and Lossiemouth, and indeed, if we plan to re-route our proposed path to link up with this new shared use path.

The funding we have received so far from Sustrans is based on the provision that we connect communities, hence looking for a route to connect the inhabitants of Covesea, students of Gordonstoun, and visitors to Silver Sands with their local amenities in Lossiemouth; as well as hopefully one day connecting to Duffus, Hopeman, Cummingston and Burghead.

A route along Drainie Road has been explored in both feasibility studies completed so far, but hasn’t been taken any further forward due to having no windbreaks; having high speed traffic (especially during peak commuting hours); and not being a safe route option for young or vulnerable people; as well as adding unnecessary mileage to the route. In the feasibility study completed in 2018, it scored only 1 point, where the route option alongside the B9040 scored 10.

It is always great to learn about more active travel infrastructure being built, especially when it’s being incorporated at the very start of any new development. Though this path will obviously help offer a safer route for people to choose active travel in their journeys to both RAF Lossiemouth and this new campus, it does not fulfil our goal of connecting the coastal communities in the Laich of Moray, and we will be continuing negotiations for an active travel route along the B9040.

Hopefully one day we’ll have safe active travel route options alongside most of the roads in Moray, including both to the north and south of RAF Lossiemouth, offering everyone the opportunity to get around safely.