Publication - FOI/EIR release

Information regarding snow gates: EIR release

Published: 27 Oct 2021

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

Published:
27 Oct 2021
Information regarding snow gates: EIR release
FOI reference: FOI/202100225501
Date received: 27 Aug 2021
Date responded: 30 Sep 2021
Information requested

I am looking to establish when we might experience weather conditions which disrupt road travel on a particular route.

The route can be found here and I’ve pasted an image below too.

Its Dundonnell to Glasgow (A832, A835, A9, M9, M80). I’m particularly interested in the route between Dundonnell and Inverness, where I expect conditions would be worse.

Can you please confirm what information can you provide in this respect?

Also, some specific questions:

1. I believe there are 4 x operational snow gates on this route as per table below – can you please confirm this (and let me know if I have missed any)?

x

y

Location

Road

56.91733799

-4.235509366

Dalwhinnie

A9

56.80917065

-4.093587267

Dalnacardoch

A9

57.69316727

-4.768454699

Aultguish

A835

57.75271934

-5.010535485

Braemore Junction

A832

2. I would like to know how often and for how long each of these gates has been closed, say based on the last 10 years (or more if readily available). Can you please confirm?

3. Is there any other information you can provide which would help me establish the risk of adverse impact to road travel on this route, for both light and heavy vehicles?

4. Are there any significant road closures currently planned for this route? If so please provide details.

You clarified your request on 16 September follows -

If the search could focus on the entire Dundonnell to Glasgow route.

With respect to weather conditions that cause disruption, this could include snow lying on the route, flooding on the route, effectively, any conditions that could close a section of the route or render it impassable.

With regards to Q3, this could include: How thoroughly the route is gritted? eg. Is there a stretch of the route that is more susceptible to icing due to infrequent road treatment?

Does any stretch of the road have history of being closed to high sided vehicles during high winds? Eg. The Kessoch Bridge.

Have any stretches of the road been impacted by landslides that could lead to closures?

With regards to Q4, are there currently any planned closures for the next decade?

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.

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 cannot forecast weather conditions and the A832 is not on the Trunk Road Network. However, you may wish to contact The Highland Council at Glenurquhart Road, Inverness, IV3 5NX who may be able to help you.

Please see Annex A, a list of snow gates with their correct locations.

1. Under regulation 6(1)(b) of the EIRs, we do not have to give you information which is already publicly available and easily accessible to you in another form or format.

The information you have requested is available from the following links to our Operating Companies Winter Service Plans using the following links - 

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested. Therefore we are refusing your request under the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs. However, you may wish to contact The Highland Council at Glenurquhart Road Inverness IV3 5NX who may be able to help you. This is because the initial part of the route from Dundonnell to Braemore Junction on the A835 is not a trunk road and we do not have details of planned closures or winter service arrangements.

2. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested. Therefore we are refusing your request under the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs. Transport Scotland does not hold records prior to 2013. Please see Annex B, a list of snow gates and closures from 1 January 2013

3. Kessock Bridge has a history of being closed to high sided vehicles during high winds. If this bridge is restricted there is an alternative route generally available via Beauly.

There are no stretches of the route that have been impacted by landslides that could lead to closures.

4. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance Transport Scotland does not have some of 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 roadworks are not planned 10 years in advance.

The following works are currently planned –

  • A9 Approach to Broxden Roundabout SB - Proposed dates - 8 October to 11 October (Weekend Closure with Diversion Route)
  • A9 South of Inveralmond Roundabout SB - Proposed dates - 14 January to 17 January (Weekend Closure with Diversion Route)
  • A835 at Garve is being closed overnight 30 October for essential network rail maintenance


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