HIE’s Argyll & Bute transport study published

A new report published today puts the spotlight on links between transport, the economy in Argyll and Bute and the potential for investment to support future population and economic growth.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) commissioned ekosgen to carry out The ‘Argyll and Bute Transport Connectivity and Economy Study’. It forms part of wider efforts by HIE and partners to help address population decline and improve economic performance in the area.

The study focused on transport connectivity between the main population centres of Dunoon, Campbeltown, Lochgilphead, Oban and Rothesay, and from these onward to Glasgow. Around 40 consultations with key stakeholders and representatives from the local business community were undertaken, as well as a review of existing evidence and case study comparators.

It identifies a number of transport constraints in Argyll and Bute and highlights that, alongside investment in skills, digital connectivity and key sectors; investment in transport can play a significant role in wider efforts to encourage population and economic growth in Argyll and Bute.

The study concluded that, in addition to current Scottish Government investment plans regarding the A82, A83, rail and ferry services, the following transport corridors be given further consideration:

  • A85 – including access to Oban, to support growth opportunities, address concerns regarding congestion and improve journey times between Oban and Glasgow;
  • A816 – to improve journey times and support economic growth along the Oban to Lochgilphead corridor and onwards to Kintyre;
  • Dunoon-Colintraive-Portavadie (B836/A8003/B8000) – to remove the constraints posed by the single-track sections of this route and improve journey times across Cowal;
  • Glasgow-Oban rail service – to reduce journey times.

Jennifer Nicoll, Area Manager for Argyll and the Islands, said: “Strong reliable transport links are critical to a successful and competitive region. Argyll and Bute has a wealth of opportunities for social and economic growth and clear potential to exploit our proximity to the Central Belt. The options outlined in this report will help inform our thinking, along with our partners Argyll and Bute Council, HITRANS and Transport Scotland as part of the wider strategy for growth in the area.”

The report also concludes that in the longer term an aspirational package of investment to develop a new east-west route including fixed links across the Clyde and Loch Fyne, may be worthy of consideration.

The full report can be accessed via the HIE website here.

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Related Articles & Comments

  • Just a cursory glance at this report threw up the fascinating fact – from Table 2.5 ‘Transport Dependencies’ on page 10 – that forestry timber exports from Argyll and Bute are transported by road to Sandbank, for shipping out by sea.
    Some are, but from my front window I cannot but be aware of the never ending piles of logs on Ardrishaig pier, shipped out every few days to Troon / Youghal / Rosslare / Passage west / Derry (and maybe to other places, for all I know, and certainly from other Argyll harbours as well – Campbeltown, Portavadie, for example)

    Ekosgen’s website proudly announces that they ‘have a first class reputation throughout the UK for providing outstanding high quality research and consultancy support to clients in local, regional and national markets’.

    Really? – they couldn’t be more self-congratulatory if they tried, and yet I’m wondering whether, in reality, this report might – on close inspection – turn out to be a sad example of consultant’s bullshit, an assemblage of badly collected facts (many self evident to anyone with half a brain) and carelessly drawn conclusions.

    Money for old rope? – anyone reasonably awake, looking at a map of Argyll, should have realised that the timber production wasn’t all being trucked to Sandbank, on the (Holy Loch near Dunoon, for the benefit of the experts in Ekosgen) before being loaded on a ship.

    The whole point of the government’s initiative in encouraging the shipping of timber by sea, to save the road system from even faster disintegration, is clearly something that the experts in Ekosgen are blissfully unaware of.

    I wonder if they’re a bit too keen on the ‘gravy train’?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

    Robert Wakeham June 28, 2016 5:31 pm Reply
    • Money for old rope; give the job to the new graduate who will spend a couple of months surfing the net, chuck in some graphs, clipart and pictures of ferries etc. Public bodies don’t seem to care if they get useful information or recycled dross for the tens of thousands spent on reports like this.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

      db June 28, 2016 8:14 pm Reply
      • Absolutely correct – and par for the course in such exercises.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

        newsroom June 28, 2016 10:38 pm Reply
  • Surely one of the most beneficial road improvements in Argyll would be the stretch between Tarbert and Ardrishaig ? This road is unfit for the 21st Century and is holding back tourism and other economic activity in Kintyre , Islay and Mid Argyll .
    Why our councillors representing Islay,Jura,Gigha,Kintyre and Mid Argyll can’t work together to force improvement is beyond belief .
    Our MSP and MP could usefully apply pressure too if they truly had the interests of their constituents at heart .

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

    Regularflyer June 28, 2016 7:42 pm Reply
  • It’s good to see a new East West route being considered even if they seem to be hooked on bridge links.
    With Norway having made huge strides in tunneling over recent years, I don’t know why it seems that UK engineers seem to have some kind of phobia to them.
    We’ve worked in concrete caissons hundreds of feet below the North Sea and driven coal mines out below the sea bed in the past. What’s happened to us, have we all suddenly turned into candy floss?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

    Murdoch MacKenzie June 28, 2016 10:03 pm Reply
  • Another report by experts telling us nothing new

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

    gerry June 28, 2016 10:40 pm Reply
  • Interesting that in various places including Ireland, fixed links haven’t always increased populations. In some cases residents travel via the better links to shop in the larger towns etc. Also health facilities and other local facilities have been transferred to areas outwith where the links were meant to help. More competition for other businesses, including shops and trades are maybe not what the locals expected. Yes, better roads and links have helped some places grow, but others not substantially. Sometimes you have to be careful for what you wish for.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Dunoon Lad June 29, 2016 9:54 pm Reply
    • No, all fixed links do not generate populations but the ones suggested for Argyll would make a huge difference even if the resident population stays the same.
      If Inverclyde to Cowal, Cowal to Kintyre and Cowal to Bute were completed then eleven ferries would not be required. Added to this driving distances and journey times would be slashed for residents and visitors alike.
      Such time saving could make the difference to many deciding to live in Argyll as against living nearer the Cities. I’m certain the area would be greatly enriched.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

      Murdoch MacKenzie June 30, 2016 12:33 am Reply

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