The Leader of Argyll and Bute Council is to urge the Scottish Government to formally commit to identifying and funding a permanent solution to keep the A83, and Argyll and Bute, open for business.
Councillors unanimously agreed the action at the meeting of full Council today, in response to the impact on residents and businesses of the most recent closure of the road.
Councillor Aileen Morton, Leader of Argyll and Bute Council, said:
“This Council, local residents, businesses and parliamentarians have all been clear for years that a permanent solution for the A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful is absolutely essential, that the negative impact of the road closures and the negative impact of the reporting of the road closures is detrimental to Argyll’s communities.
What made this latest closure so significant is the fact that the landslides and severe weather also wiped out, for a period, the supposed solution to the problem – the Old Military Road, which too remained closed until Monday 15th October, one full week after the first landslide
The failure of the most recent works to keep the road open demands an urgent review of existing and future plans at the Rest and Be Thankful.
The scale of financial support needed to deliver a permanent solution is potentially very substantial. However, when considered in the light of other investments across the country, such as the Queensferry Crossing at a cost of £1.350 billion pounds or the Aberdeen bypass at a cost of £745million, then the potential costs here are put into a different perspective.
Argyll is a great place to live, work and visit. Argyll is here, offering the potential to drive not only our own economy but also boost that of Scotland as a whole. That can’t be allowed to be lost because of a piece of road. Our communities, and in fact the wider Scottish economy, need and deserve a robust road network that keeps Argyll open.”
The full motion agreed unanimously by the council is:
A83 Rest and Be Thankful – Motion to Argyll and Bute Council, 18th October 2018
The Council notes:
The multiple landslips which closed the A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful as well as the Old Military Road diversion route on Tuesday 9th October, with both roads remaining closed into the following week
That during the time of the road closures there were issues with other transport routes to and within Argyll and Bute, including a road closure on the alternate A82/A85 route
That the closure of the A83 has an enormously damaging impact on residents, commuters, visitors and businesses within Argyll and Bute, resulting in unacceptably long detours and delays.
The Council further notes that a request had already been made for a meeting of the A83 Taskforce to be held ASAP, and welcomes that a meeting is now scheduled for November 15th.
The Council agrees that the failure of the most recent works to keep the road open through severe weather demands an urgent review of existing and future plans at the Rest and Be Thankful.
The Council requests that the Leader writes to the First Minister asking:
That in addition to the A83 Taskforce meeting, a further meeting is arranged for a delegation from A&B Council (Cllrs A Morton, G Mulvaney, S Taylor and D Philand as well as appropriate officers) to meet with the Cabinet Secretary for Transport and the Cabinet Secretary for Finance regarding this ongoing, crucial issue for Argyll and Bute
That a full review is urgently undertaken of the options to provide a permanent solution for the A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful. Recognising the Council’s request to Transport Scotland, from the start of 2013 onwards, that in addition to the current works (the Red Corridor identified in the Jacobs report) a permanent solution should also be progressed
That the Scottish Government, without further delay, formally commits to identifying and funding a permanent solution to keep the A83, and Argyll and Bute, open for business.