Council formally expresses ‘deep concern’ over impact of road closures

Rest and Be Thankful

ARGYLL and Bute Council has formally expressed its ‘deep concern’ over the impact of closures to the A83 Rest and Be Thankful and the Old Military Road Diversion.

The local authority said that if the impact of ‘decades of disruption’ at the main A83 isn’t severe enough, the Old Military Road diversion route set up in its place has been closed due to the risk of landslides.

In August of this year, the leader of Argyll and Bute Council, Aileen Morton, wrote to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon asking for a permanent solution to constant closures of the road.

However, following a meeting last week, A83 stakeholders heard that putting a permanent solution in place could require five or more years to secure necessary permissions before construction could start. Then, construction itself would take a number of further years to complete.

A council document read, “This effectively asks Argyll and Bute to sustain another decade of the kind of disruption experienced over the last few weeks. This, again, is unsustainable and unacceptable.”

It continues by listing the following actions taken by the council:

  • Argyll and Bute Council formally expresses its deep concern, shared by Argyll and Bute’s communities and businesses, at the worsening situation where not only is the A83 Rest and Be Thankful currently closed but the vital Old Military Road diversion route is also now increasingly affected by closure due to landslip risk, in writing to the first minister;
  • Agrees that the potential timescale of another decade before a permanent solution is in place is unacceptable, and that a sustainable  interim solution must be identified and implemented urgently  to support Argyll and Bute’s economic recovery and resilience and to prevent serious risks to its future success;
  • Calls on the Scottish Government for urgent investigation of any potential interim solutions which can be put in place swiftly, and for use at the very least by emergency services, health transport and haulage traffic as quickly as possible, to allow access to medical services, the movement of goods to continue in and out of Argyll and Bute, maintaining efficient and timely delivery of supplies to local communities and supporting key local economic sectors like aquaculture, timber haulage and agriculture;
  • Seeks urgent engagement with the relevant agencies to explore the swift progression of that interim solution as soon as possible;
  • Reinforces the need for Argyll and Bute Council to be represented on any steering group or other body involved in the development and oversight of permanent solutions for the A83 as well as any engagement in relation to the interim solution, given its lifeline status and vital importance for the region’s future success.