The Argyll First group of councillors is seeing its petition for the A83 progressing through the Scottish Parliament’s Pubic Petitions Committee.
It is now at a stage where the Committee can request further evidence from relevant stakeholders if, after receiving Transport Scotland’s response to the consultants’ study, it wishes to do so.
Should the Committee they feel that the response (following on from the previous responses received) addresses the aims of the petition, then it can move for the petition to be closed.
Given the express concerns of the petition, it is hard to see how Transport Scotland’s actions to date fullfil some of the major ones – which were with the imperative of a permanent solution to the Rest and Be Thankful section – which has not even been proposed; and the resolution of a series of dangerous pinch points on the road.
A further option open to it is to refer the petition to a relevant subject Committee in the Parliament to consider the terms of the petition under its remit.
A second progression Argyll First has seen from their petition is that Transport Scotland has told the Petitions Committee that it is working with Argyll and Bute Council who are developing a business case for trunking the A83 on its final and important section from Kennacraig to Campbeltown.
This is good news, for the moment but we feel that the Petitions Committee should not action the completion of this petition’s process until this collaboration between government and local authority reaches a positive conclusion. Discussions and preparations are worthwhile as preliminaries – but they are not a result.
Always with an eye to results, Highlands and Islands MSP, Jamie McGrigor, this morning welcomed the progress towards completion of the A83 emergency route but is pressing the need for a serious and permanent solution to the unreliability of the A83 at Rest and Be Thankful.
As have Argyll First, Jamie McGrigor has consistently pressed Scottish Government Ministers to recognise the strategic importance of the A83.
He says: ‘My constituents, local businesses and visitors to the area will be relieved that we finally have a relief route available in event of the A83 being blocked by landslips at the Rest & Be Thankful.
‘However, the completion of this diversionary route does not relieve Scottish Ministers of their duty to provide a permanent solution to keep the A83 trunk road open at the Rest.
‘I will continue to press Ministers on this whenever possible and I am pleased that the A83 petition is continuing to be progressed through the Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee.’
The need for continuing pressure and the maintenance of momentum on this matter could not be more necessary and Argyll needs to know that this will be the case. Jamie McGrigor and Argyll First’s determination to do so is reassuring.