Deliver permanent solution to the Rest debacle by 2024, demand petitioners

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A Rest and Be Thankful Campaign group petition calling for a permanent solution by 2024 to the notoriously landslip-blighted stretch of the A83 at Glen Croe went live on Monday.

It asks the Scottish Parliament to urge Transport Minister Graeme Dey MSP and the Scottish Government to recognise ‘the crisis’ at the Rest and Be Thankful as an emergency due to the economic and environmental impacts and the ‘high risk’ that 100,000 tonnes of debris is ready to fall which could be a ‘risk to life’.

John Gurr, the campaign group’s chairperson, said: ‘We ask that Graeme Dey MSP and the Scottish Government deliver a robust two-way temporary alternative to the A83 by 2022 – the current mitigation works of planting trees and digging pits does not stop landslides or stop the road from being closed every time it rains.

‘We ask Graeme Dey MSP and the Scottish Government to stop wasting time on lengthy consultation and deliver a permanent solution by 2024.’

Prior to the petition being launched, the campaign group, which includes several Kintyre business-owners, engaged with local councillors and MSPs to raise support.

This led to a meeting with Transport Scotland and Mr Dey, who, according to the group, ‘will not alter their current plans to continue closing when it rains, without a suitable temporary solution, and will not rethink the lengthy project to decide on a permanent solution’.

On Tuesday, the day after the petition was launched, road maintenance firm BEAR Scotland announced that the A83 at the Rest was to close overnight from 7pm, with the single-track Old Military Road diversion route used as a ‘safety precaution’ as a result of continuing heavy rain.

BEAR Scotland’s North West representative Eddie Ross said that with further heavy rain expected to move through the area over the remainder of the week, safety inspection teams would remain on ‘high alert’.

‘The A83 from Tarbet to the Rest and Be Thankful provides essential road access to and from Argyll,’ said Mr Gurr. ‘Landslides and subsequent road closures are not a new problem here.

‘Ten years ago the Scottish Government set out options for a permanent solution, yet since then more than £80 million of taxpayers’ money has been wasted on temporary mitigation.

‘The road is used by 1.3 million vehicles annually, yet was closed for 200 days last year, creating an unnecessary barrier to our region.

‘Furthermore, we know that 100,000 tonnes of debris is ready to fall. This is a risk to life and should therefore be treated as an emergency and addressed with the urgency that it deserves, yet Transport Scotland are now proposing a further 10 years to deliver a permanent solution.’

In a bid to raise awareness of the petition and the Rest and Be Thankful ‘debacle’, the campaign group delivered information flyers to 15,000 homes across Argyll this week.

Within a couple of days of going live, the petition had received more than 1,500 signatures.

To add your signature, visit https://chng.it/RQDn8NHcdf