- 17 Dec 2018
Date received: 20 November 2018
Date responded: 17 December 2018
We refer to your letter dated 19 November 2018. We are grateful for your prompt response to our FOI request, but we would be grateful if you could provide some clarification to us.
We note from your letter that the Forth Road Bridge was closed to double decker buses from 8.55pm on Sunday 15 November 2015 and continued to be closed throughout the following day. We also note that you state in answer to questions 1 and 2 that the bridge was closed to high sided vehicles, vehicles with trailers etc. Can you please advise if this bridge closure was the same for these vehicles as it was for double deckers? The reason we query is that we note from your risk assessment that it would only be closed to these additional vehicles if the winds had exceeded 50mph but in answer to question 4 it is stated that gust of 48mph were recorded. If you are able to clarify these points it would be most appreciated.
Lastly, at the time in questions (November 2015) was there any warning system or other similar announcement that would automatically advise relevant or interested parties such as bus companies or haulage companies of the closure?
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.
The Forth Road Bridge was closed to high-sided vehicles, transit van style vehicles with modification, vehicles with trailers or caravans, vehicles with roof boxes or wind-susceptible roof rack items, motorcycles, three-wheeled cars, pedestrians, cyclists and any other vehicle which appeared, in the judgement of bridge staff or the police, to be clearly at risk and this restriction was in place from 0208hrs until 0533hrs on 16 November.
When the Forth Road Bridge closed to double decker buses the wind gusts exceeded 45mph (48mph recorded at 2055hrs). When the Forth Road Bridge closed to high-sided vehicles etc. the wind gusts exceeded 50mph (55mph recorded at 0533hrs).
These details were originally outwith the scope of your last request - FOI/18/03316.
I can confirm that the VMS display was in place to warn drivers of the closure and our website and info line were updated accordingly.
Traffic Scotland collects information about roadworks, accidents, congestion and weather events and is used to improve the operational efficiency of the Scottish trunk road network. Traffic Scotland provides users with information on current Scottish trunk road traffic conditions that will assist users to make informed decisions as to the timing, routing and travel mode choice regarding current or proposed journeys. This information helps by reducing the disruption caused by incidents, minimising the effects of congestion and thereby improving the safety and efficiency of the road network.
Traffic Scotland are pro-active in providing real-time information to the general public in the event of any incidents affecting the trunk road network across Scotland, including instances on the local road network which may have an impact on the strategic road network. Traffic Scotland provide such information through a variety of channels such as strategic Variable Message Signs (VMS), located across the road network, media broadcasts using local radio and Traffic Scotland Radio, social media such as Twitter (@trafficscotland) and the Traffic Scotland website at www.trafficscotland.org.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House