Publication - FOI/EIR release

Road signs on A85 George Street, Oban: EIR release

Published: 18 Jan 2018
Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.
Published:
18 Jan 2018
Road signs on A85 George Street, Oban: EIR release

FOI reference: FOI/17/03020
Date received: 14 December 2017
Date responded: 17 January 2018

Information requested

Accident: 19/09/2017
Locus: George Street, Oban

We refer to the above and would be grateful if you would provide us with the following:

  1. Your policy for affixing road signs, in particular within a pedestrian area.

  2. The minimum height at which a sign within a pedestrian area should be fixed.

  3. Details of all complaints relating to the road signs on George Street, Oban (as per attached Google image).

  4. All inspection records for George Street, Oban for the period of 19/09/2016 to date.

  5. The height of the tourist information sign on George Street on 19/09/2017.

  6. All inspection record, reports, recommendations, repair requests for the tourist information sign on George Street, Oban.

  7. All note of work request, specific work detail and completion reports for George Street, Oban.

  8. Your policy for reporting inappropriate, damaged or defective road signs.

  9. All photographs of the original tourist information sign, and replacement tourist information sign on George Street, Oban (as per attached Google image).

Response

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.

I have numbered our response for ease of reference;

1. The policy for mounting height of signs in a pedestrian area can be found in the Department of Transport Traffic Signs Manual Chapter 1 – Paragraph 6.(111). A link to this document is below;

Traffic Signs Manual

This policy states that the mounting height in pedestrian areas is 2.3m with a minimum of 2.1m. Signs positioned away from pedestrian areas or at crossing points may be mounted as low as 900mm.

Transport Scotland policy in relation to trunk road design is outlined in Road for All: A good practice guide, which is available at the link below. Section 4.5.5 refers to signage;

Good Practice Guide for Roads

2. Please refer to point 1 of this letter.

3. Please refer to Annex A of this letter, for complaints relating to this location dating back to April 2013. An exception under regulation 11(2) of the EIRs (personal information) applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 1998. This exception is not subject to the 'public interest test', so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exception.

4. Please refer to Annex B of this letter.

5. The height of the brown directional sign indicating 'tourist information centre' on George Street, at the pedestrian island was measured by BEAR Scotland in late 2017, to be 1.7m.

6. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance Transport Scotland does not have the information you have requested. Therefore we are refusing your request under the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs. The reasons why that exception applies is that Transport Scotland have no record of this sign being erected and it does not appear on our tourist sign database. Inspection records for this route are provided in Annex B.

7. Please refer to Annex C of this letter. An exception under regulation 11(2) of the EIRs (personal information) applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 1998. This exception is not subject to the 'public interest test', so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exception.

8. Any road signs on the trunk road network which do not have authorisation or have a defect are recorded on our weekly inspections. If the sign is not the property of the road authority it is reported to the owner who has 28 days to remove the sign or BEAR Scotland will remove it. Defects are recorded in accordance with the contract which is available from the Transport Scotland website at;

The Trunk Road Network

Please refer to the NW contract.

However, please see below the definition as per the 4th Generation Term Contract for management and maintenance of the Scottish Trunk Road Network;

Category 1 Defect means a Defect that necessitates prompt attention because it presents:

(i) an immediate or imminent hazard, or (ii) a risk of rapid structural deterioration to the affected element.

Category 2 Defect means any Defect which is not a Category 1 Defect.

In addition, the following extract is taken from Schedule 7 Part 1 of the 4th Generation Term Contract for Management and Maintenance of the Scottish Trunk Road Network:

2. DEFECT CATEGORIES AND RESPONSE TIMES

2.1 Classification of Category 1 and Category 2 Defects

2.1.1 When classifying Category 1 and Category 2 Defects, the Operating Company shall give consideration to the potential impact on all road users including motorists, pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, equestrians and disabled users.

2.1.2 The Operating Company shall comply with the provisions of the Transport Scotland Trunk Road Inspection Manual regarding classification of Defects.

2.1.3 The Transport Scotland Trunk Road Inspection Manual is deemed not to contain an exhaustive compendium of Defects. In the absence of a description of a Defect in the Transport Scotland Trunk Road Inspection Manual, the Operating Company shall make the classification from first principles."

The following extract is taken from Schedule 7, Part 1 of the 4th Generation Term Contract for management and maintenance of the Scottish Trunk Road Network and details the timescales for repairing defects:

2.2. Category 1 Defects Response Times

2.2.1 Unless stated otherwise in this Part, Category 1 Defects shall be dealt with by the Operating Company in priority order as stated in paragraph 2.2 of this Part.

2.2.2 The Operating Company's inspection team or initial Incident Response Resources shall make the Category 1 Defect safe when identified. This shall be through executing immediate repairs, removing the hazard or by taking any other measures necessary to protect the public and other users of the Unit.

2.2.3 Where a Category 1 Defect renders a Trunk Road unsafe for road users, the Operating Company shall, under Police instruction or on receipt of an appropriate Order, close the relevant part of the Trunk Road for as short a period as possible while remedial action is undertaken.

2.2.4 Where a Category 1 Defect cannot be repaired immediately or the hazard cannot be removed, the Operating Company shall take action to make the area safe until the required temporary or permanent repairs have been completed.

2.2.5 The temporary or permanent repairs shall be undertaken as soon as possible and no later than:

(i) 06:00 on the day following identification for Category 1 Defects on carriageways, and (ii) within 24 hours of identification for all other Category 1 Defects.

2.2.6 Where a temporary repair has been carried out, the deferred permanent repair period for the following Defect types shall be:

(i) 28 days for carriageway surface, and (ii) 56 days for Bridge parapets.

9. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance Transport Scotland does not have the information you have requested. Therefore we are refusing your request under the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs. The reasons why that exception applies is that Transport Scotland have no record of this sign being erected and it does not appear on our tourist sign database.

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Contact

Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG