- 22 Feb 2021
Date received: 21 Dec 2020
Date responded: 13 Jan 2021
1. How many times in the past 3 years has the A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful been closed due to a landslide?
2. How many times in the past 3 years has the alternative route - Old Military Road been closed?
3. Whether you have you taken account of the social and economic impacts of the closures on local communities? Please provide a link to any documents.
4. The dates (including a list of the villages) when you consulted with local residents about the A83 closures/ongoing repairs (excluding the recent public consultation with regard to the permanent solution options). Please provide a link to documents that would support that you have consulted with the local residents over the years.
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.
|Date of closure||Number of days closed|
|9th October 2018||9|
|4th August 2020||33.5|
|13th September 2020||86.5|
2. Under the terms of the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs (information not held), Transport Scotland is not required to provide information which it does not have. We do not have the information you have requested because we don't hold a register of when the Old Military Road was closed, only when it was open and in use.
This exception 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 exception. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exception. While we recognise that there may be some public interest in information about the Old Military Road, clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.
3. The social and economic impacts were considered in the 2013 A83 Route Study produced by Jacobs which is available on the Transport Scotland Website. https://www.transport.gov.scot/media/13529/a83-rest-and-bethankful-project-a83-trunk-road-route-study-report-part-a-final.pdf.
The social and economic impact of the closures is a key discussion point between BEAR and Transport Scotland and also in wider forums incorporating local business group to discuss ways of mitigating the impact. The route remains open when deemed safe to operate and decisions on closures are not taken lightly.
4. Please see Annex A to this response for previous consultation letters to local residents over the time frame requested. These letters also contain the dates of consultation. 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 Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. 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
Following a series of landslides at the A83 Rest and Be Thankful, Transport Scotland established the A83 Taskforce stakeholder group in August 2012 to progress and oversee the delivery of landslide mitigation works at the location with the objectives of (a) reducing the impact on journey times, and (b) reducing the economic impact to the A83 Study area by reducing the frequency and duration of road closures caused by landslides. A83 Taskforce members include; MSPs for the area, Argyll & Bute Councillors, Lochgoil Community Council, Arrochar Community Council, Freight Transport Asocitaion, Road Haulage Association, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, Western Ferries, Mid Argyll Chamber of Commerce, NFU Scotland, and Forestry and Land Scotland.
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House