Thanks to a slew of Written Answers published by the Scottish Parliament over the past year, we can piece together the framework that is used for A9 planning. It is clear that the system is not capable of protecting the historic environment, the natural environment nor the interests of the local community affected by the new road.

The A9 dualling project does not follow ‘normal’ planning procedures. It is promoted through the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984 which effectively disempowers all the statutory bodies who, in ‘normal’ planning, are responsible for the application of the regulations and standards in their respective sectors.

That means that in the course of A9 planning, Historic Environment Scotland (HES) cannot ensure that its policy and rules concerning construction on a site listed in the Inventory of Historic Battlefields will be applied. Likewise, Cairngorms National Park Authority cannot guarantee that it will fulfil its statutory aims which include conserving and enhancing the natural and cultural heritage of the park and promoting the social development of the park’s communities. It is not even clear how effectual Environmental Health, part of Perth & Kinross Council, can be in checking noise impact on residents.

Ministers retain power but relinquish supervision of the affected areas of their respective portfolios to statutory bodies who are handicapped by their diminished status on the A9. Fiona Hyslop, the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, confirms that the responsibilities of a statutory consultee are limited to the provision of advice and comment. Nevertheless, Ms Hyslop says that the Scottish government considers the functions and powers conferred on HES by parliament are sufficient.

The lop-sided structure and lack of transparency in the A9 planning hides an inherent bias in favour of Transport Scotland at the expense of almost every other stakeholder.

Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity and the man in charge of the A9 project says that the interests of those who have concerns are protected by assessments done in accordance with the requirements of the Environmental Impact Assessment (Scotland) Regulations.

Those assessments feed into a huge document called the Environmental Statement which, according to Mr Matheson, demonstrates compliance with all the relevant policies, regulations and standards necessary to protect and enhance the historic and natural environment.

Unfortunately, it does not. The scheme that is proposed at Killiecrankie is littered with instances of non-compliance because Transport Scotland cannot be challenged during planning.

Scottish Ministers will have the last word on the final scheme that is presented to them. That scheme is a product of a defective planning system that has deliberately marginalised the interests of every other party except transport.