Bi-lingual road and rail signs: EIR release

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs).

FOI reference: FOI/17/01451
Date received: 27 June 2017
Date responded: 10 July 2017

Information requested

Under the freedom of information legislation I shall be obliged if you could advise me the cost of the aforementioned signs since local government reorganisation in 1996.

If possible I would like the breakdown per financial year for each local authority.


As the information you have requested is 'environmental information' for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA.

This exemption is subject to the 'public interest test'. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.

Response to request

Transport Scotland is in charge of maintaining Scotland's trunk road network. A map of the roads that we have responsibility for can be found at the following link;

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance Transport Scotland does not have the information you have requested in relation to local authority expenditure as it is the local authorities responsibility for local road expenditure. Therefore we are refusing your request under the exception at regulation
10(4)(a) of the EIRs.

However, you may wish to contact the individual local authorities who may be able to help you.

In relation to Transport Scotland expenditure, I can confirm that Transport Scotland maintain a membership with Gaelic Place Names, who provide the organisation with researched and proofed place name translations. This membership is paid at a rate of £2,000 per annum.

Information on the amount spent on the construction and maintenance of bilingual signage is not held but I can confirm that Transport Scotland has directly spent the following on Gaelic signage or material in the past three years:

Gaelic identity work - £3,476.15 (excl. VAT)
Gaelic Translation – "A seatbelt can save a child's life. And it's the law" - £34.50 (excl. VAT)
Total: £3,510.65 (excl. VAT).

It may be helpful to note that in the period 2002 to 2010, over £2 million was invested in providing signs on the A87, A887, A830, A835, A828, A85, A82 and A83. This policy was agreed with Highland and Argyll & Bute Councils in 2002.

Transport Scotland does plan to introduce bilingual signs on the A9 as part of the dualling process as an extension of this policy. We will take forward a strategy for implementation of bilingual signs on the A9 primarily on the basis of opportunities created by programmed improvement works or planned maintenance. This provides an affordable and cost effective way of extending the bilingual signs policy.

For Rail, £1,646.25 (in 2010) was spent relating to trademark protection of several Gaelic elements. The introduction of Gaelic signage at ScotRail stations was part of the overall ScotRail rebranding programme which was included at no extra cost as part of the arrangements to extend the ScotRail franchise contract.

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Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
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