Argyll and Bute councillors have renewed their calls for urgent action to tackle the ongoing issues affecting the Rest and Be Thankful and the main A83 road.
The move forms part of a wide-ranging response from the Council on various transport issues affecting the region to the Scottish Government’s draft second Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2).
In their submission, the Council has welcomed the Scottish Government’s commitment to finding a long-term, permanent solution to ongoing closures on the road caused by subsidence and flooding issues, which can add detours of up to 50 miles for residents, businesses and visitors.
Leader of Argyll and Bute Council. Robin Currie, commented: “The continuing problems at the Rest and Be Thankful, and the media coverage which these generate, are a significant barrier to attracting people to the area, both to live and to visit. In addition, the impact on businesses in Argyll and Bute can be significant.
“New or improved road infrastructure to reduce the impact of landslides would improve the reliability of the route which is a vital artery through Argyll and a connection for both the Kintyre and Cowal peninsulas. Our concern is that the issues on the A83 overshadow the great work which so many people are doing locally to encourage people to live, work, visit and invest here.
“It is also disappointing to see that the Rest and Be Thankful is the only part of the A83 mentioned in the review. Several stretches of this trunk route seriously need upgraded and widened in parts. This paper is very much urban based and fails to recognise the needs of our rural roads.”
The call by councillors for a permanent solution to the issues at the Rest and Be Thankful is one of a number of key points on road, ferry and air services outlined in their response.
- Fixed link to Mull: the Council has said it would welcome further details on proposals for a fixed link to the island of Mull but that it is keen to understand what the potential impacts of this could be on the local Oban economy
- Active travel: the Council has requested that funding for active travel infrastructure should be reviewed as part of STPR2 and funds such as Cycling Walking and Safer Routes given a greater proportion of the support available for active travel
- Bus travel – the Council has stressed how important it is that rural areas benefit from attractive public transport options to promote positive transport choices, pointing out thatthe new Young Person’s Free Bus Travel Scheme for 5 -21 year olds is of limited use in rural areas
- Ferries and ports - the Council has welcomed the review of ferry services and port infrastructure, noting that ferry and air services provide lifeline connections to many of Argyll and Bute’s fragile remote communities
This consultation is on the draft second Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2) for Scotland which will inform Scottish Ministers decisions on transport investment for the next 20 years. As part of the consultation process, all local authorities are being asked to offer feedback on issues affecting their area.
Councillor Currie said: “Provision of sustainable, reliable and affordable local transport is a key priority for the Council and a critical element in our drive to enhance Argyll and Bute’s profile and boost the local economy.
“The feedback provided as part of our submission to this consultation is extensive and encompasses a range of views which will play an important part in helping Scottish Ministers determine the future shape of transport across the region.”