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Chamber and committees

Citizen Participation and Public Petitions Committee

Transport Scotland submission of 16 February 2022

PE1916/B - Request a public inquiry into the management of the Rest and Be Thankful project

Thank you for your letter dated 20 January 2022 regarding the above-named petition. The committee have asked two questions which we have responded to below.

When is the next substantial A83 project update by Transport Scotland is likely to take place?

I can confirm that an A83 Taskforce meeting is scheduled for 3rd March 2022 and an email confirming this date has been issued to all Taskforce members. At this meeting we will provide a full project update and share the results of the data we have been gathering for this project.

We are also working on an interactive mapping tool which will be added to our A83 Storymap website. This will allow the public to view the route options in more detail as well as view the data gathered by being able to switch ‘layers’ of the map on and off depending on which data the person wishes to view. Examples of ‘layers’ which the public will be able to view will include, but not limited to, road models of the options, environmental surveys and baseline flood mapping.

This reinforces the openness and transparency of the project.

The Committee is also keen to understand if Transport Scotland would consider undertaking a public inquiry regarding the management of the A83 project and as per the call for views in this petition.

Transport Scotland is of the view that a public inquiry in to the management of the A83 project would take valuable resources off the project in order to prepare for and attend a public inquiry. We do not believe this is in the best interest for the project and an inquiry would likely add delay to the project.

Furthermore, a public inquiry would not find a solution to the problems at the A83 Rest and Be Thankful. At best, such a process would simply review past decision making and would not positively move the situation forward. As stated in our response letter the ongoing assessment and design work is being undertaken in accordance with the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges (DMRB) which sets a UK-wide standard of good practice that has been developed principally for trunk roads and is accepted within the industry. The DMRB supports the implementation of the statutory process for all new roads as set out in the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984. It is an evidenced based process that requires robust data inputs which we are currently gathering.

The committee may also take comfort from our recent benchmarking of the process and timescales for the project against those undertaken by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration. Norway is often quoted by third parties as providing examples of fast, effective tunnel construction. The process and estimates being adopted for the Rest and be Thankful work align well with those used in Norway and the parties have agreed they form a reasonable expectation.

Related correspondences

Citizen Participation and Public Petitions Committee

Transport Scotland submission of 23 December 2021

PE1916/A - Request a public inquiry into the management of the rest and be thankful project