Dual The A92023
When the Inverness Courier received confirmation that the SNP government would not fulfil its promise to dual the A9 by 2025, the team launched a campaign, starting with a viral front page (right) which garnered over a million views. The Courier promised their readers that they would continue to put pressure on the Scottish Government until the A9 was dualled.
The team at the Courier were also the only local media to host a leadership debate with all three SNP candidates, putting the A9 dualling issue front and centre. The team also launched a dedicated section on their website, with articles investigating the failed dualling project and how to move forward.
The Courier also launched the A9 Crisis Summit, putting pressure on Transport Scotland bosses and government officials to attend, including Transport Minister Mairi McAllan. The summit saw bereaved families, concerned locals, business leaders, MSPs and councillors come together to discuss safety improvements and dualling issues. The event was attended by media including the BBC, STV and the Press & Journal.
Sarah Fyfe, head of content and audience at Highland News & Media, publishers of The Inverness Courier, said: “We are pleased to see the Scottish Government and Transport Scotland taking this issue seriously.
“The summit is an opportunity to make sure our voices are heard and demand progress. We have an excellent range of experts, campaigners and government officials taking part, which will enable us to gain a clearer picture of what went wrong and how to move forward.”
The Courier published action points from the summit, presenting it to Humza Yousaf, leader of the SNP. The title’s head of content wrote to the head of major projects at Transport Scotland, Lawrence Shackman. The response was published in full by the Courier, securing an autumn update and a confirmation that a new timeline with a completion date would be announced.
In November 2023, the campaign was voted the winner of the 2023 Making a Difference award for the best local campaign. Head of audience and content at the Courier’s publisher Highland News and Media, Sarah Fyfe said: “This award is a public vote, showcasing that A9 dualling is of vital importance to people in the Highlands and the government needs to listen.
“It’s fantastic for our team to have recognition for the incredible amount of work that has gone into this campaign – it’s proof that local journalism has a major part to play in championing community issues.”
She added: “But our campaign won’t be over until the A9 is dualled.”