1. Please supply the detailed Risk assessment for the Braes junction on A835 Trunk Road. I suggest we utilise the file probably held for the period of 2010 - 2020. Due to assessment by TS on the roads issue in 2000's, Highland Council deemed it inappropriate for Brae's development to be expanded. This was incorporated into the Ullapool Local Plan of 2006.
2. Please supply the detailed Risk assessment for the Braes junction on A835 Trunk Road, changed after recent TS site visit to Braes. This should show the mitigating measures that Transport Scotland experienced, which subsequently caused a risk reduction to the HIGH level, apparently applied previously at the aforesaid junction.
3. Please forward the Transport Scotland letter/email confirmation recently written to Highland Council, which stated that the junction is acceptable from a risk perspective. In addition to this, can you also confirm that the increase in traffic driven by the NC 500 is recognised now as an additional significant risk?
4. Please supply the detailed Risk assessment for the Braes single track lower road, showing the mitigating measures understood using the road & the risk level that is defined. For example, cars/lorries & a bike cannot pass on the Braes Zig Zags. There is no pavement and therefore there are many places where there are NO places to stand, when cars may want to pass, etc. Within this Risk Assessment, if available, can we identify, a) if there is a weight limit on the lower single-track, b) whether there are limits on load lengths through the Zig Zags, and c) Is there a limit on the length of lorry able to turn left at the base of the hill through the junction mentioned above. If there is no risk assessment, can I suggest that TS obtain one.
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.
With regards to Q1,2 and 4, 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. This is because we do not hold detailed risk assessments for the Braes Junction of the A835 or the Braes single track lower road.
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 risk assessments, clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.
I can confirm we undertake an annual assessment of the safety performance of the entire trunk road network, including the A835 into Ullapool. Whilst we consider accident patterns and rates in the form of Route Accident Reduction Plans (RARP), we also screen all locations where three or more personal-injury accidents have occurred in a three year period. Further investigations are then carried out and, where appropriate, mitigation measures are prioritised for delivery. This robust, evidence-based approach ensures that the funding available is prioritised for those locations with the potential to deliver the greatest ‘casualty-accident’ savings. It is by using the evidence in this way that available funding can be optimised to best support the delivery of Scotland’s Road Safety Framework and our overarching vision of a future where no one is killed on Scotland’s roads.
With respect to the development plan for this area, and the policies contained within, these are prepared by the Local Authority. The 2006 Wester Ross Local Plan was replaced in the form of the Highland Wide Local Development Plan adopted in 2012, which superseded parts of the 2006 plan, and then the Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan adopted in 2015. Transport Scotland has no record of commenting on the Braes of Ullapool or the potential implications of development in this locale on the trunk road network in any of these plans.
In terms of the Braes Hill Road, as this is a local road, it is under the jurisdiction of the local authority, in this case the Highland Council. Any requests for information relating to Braes Hill Road should therefore be directed to Highland Council.
As requested in Q3, please see Annex A to this response for a copy of Transport Scotland's email to Highland Council. 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.
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
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