Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route safety: EIR release

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

Information requested

At the outset of the project to build the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route Balmedie to Tipperty (AWPR/B-T), the stated anticipated safety benefits were:
1: A net reduction in 72 minor, nine serious and one fatal accident each year.

2: Reduced overall traffic on urban roads.

3: Decreased congestion on unsuitable rural roads.

For each of those measures can you please tell me:
1: What was the baseline against which any improvements were to be gauged. (Please supply any contemporaneous documentation setting this out)?

2: What research has been carried out since the opening of the AWPR/B-T as to the success or otherwise in meeting these expectations – and what were the findings of any such research?


While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because an exception under regulation 10(4)(d) – Material in the course of completion, unfinished documents, or incomplete data of the EIRs applies to some of the requested information. The reasons why that exception applies are explained in the Annex to this letter.

In answer to your first question, the anticipated safety benefits listed on the Transport Scotland project details webpage were those forecast during the scheme’s appraisal, published on 4 July 2008; were derived from a 2005 baseline and assumed opening year of 2012.

With the scheme having fully opened in 2019, the baseline for evaluation activities, against which a before / after comparison is made, is the period preceding construction / route restrictions. Taken together, the evaluation therefore provides an understanding of the observed changes over time as well as the changes relative to forecasts.

Since the opening of the scheme, preliminary information was gathered and analysed for the AWPR/BT project in 2019 to highlight any operational issues and gauge whether the project was on track to achieve its objectives and help inform future evaluation activity as set out in the Scottish Trunk Road Infrastructure Project Evaluation (STRIPE) Guidance.

The one year after opening (1YA) evaluation was originally planned to be undertaken with the aim to further assess transportation, environmental and economic effects of the project relative to the preopening baseline and its objectives. However, this would have coincided with the period when travel patterns were impacted as a result of the COVID-19 travel restrictions. Also, in response to the COVID-19 emergency, evaluation activities were paused as resources were pivoted to deal with the pandemic.

As we are now in the recovery stage of the pandemic, the detailed evaluation of the AWPR/B-T project against both its objectives and wider evaluation criteria is recommencing. The findings emerging from this evaluation phase will be reported to Scottish Ministers and published on the Transport Scotland website in due course.

In addition to scheduled evaluation activities, “business-as-usual” monitoring of the AWPR/B-T is undertaken in line with Transport Scotland’s role as the trunk roads authority, with Aberdeen Roads Limited continuing to operate and maintain the AWPR/B-T on behalf of Transport Scotland through to November 2047.

An exception under regulation 10(4)(d) of the EIRs applies to some of the information you have requested. Section 10(4)(d) – Material in the course of completion, unfinished documents, or incomplete data applies in this instance to the preliminary information gathered to inform future evaluation activities.

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. We recognise that there is some public interest in release because disclosure would enhance scrutiny of decision-making processes and thereby improve accountability and participation; and disclosure would contribute to a debate on a matter of public interest. However, this is outweighed by the public interest in allowing Ministers and officials a space for due consideration in which to develop policy and programmes as part of the process of evaluating the AWPR/B-T project within the scope of established monitoring / evaluation programmes.

About FOI

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
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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