ARGYLL and Bute’s Westminster MP Alan Reid has accused the SNP of giving the area’s roads “crumbs from the table” following the announcement of the Scottish Government’s spending plans.
Mr Reid said the allocation of £2 million to improve the A82 along the side of Loch Lomond had been postponed by the SNP after originally being allocated six years ago by his Liberal Democrat colleague, the then transport minister Tavish Scott.
“Our crumbling roads need far more than the money allocated by the SNP,” Mr Reid said.
“I am pleased that the SNP Government are at long last looking at upgrading the forest road through Glen Croe so that this can be used as alternative route the next time the A83 is closed because of a landslide at the Rest and be Thankful.
“This was something I called for years ago and so it’s progress that, after years of doing nothing, the SNP are actually thinking of doing something.
“However it’s important to point out that the SNP haven’t promised to actually upgrade the forest road. All they’ve promised to do is to ‘explore options for making emergency use of forest roads’, and any work is conditional on Argyll and Bute Council putting money in as well.
“When a landslide closes the A83 it causes huge problems for many Argyll communities. The SNP must move quickly from exploring options to actually carrying out the work.”
The announcement of the Argyll and Bute spending, and in particular the proposals for the A83, by SNP finance minister John Swinney was welcomed by the party’s Highlands and Islands regional MSP Mike Mackenzie, who said: “Those who depend upon the crucial arterial route of the A83 will be pleased to learn of this initiative and to see that the Scottish Government is taking realistic and practical steps to resolve the threat that the present unstable hillside poses to the existing route.
“While there are still important surveys to be taken to accomplish this task the additional funding will enable that to be completed.
“It can be seen that the haul road, built as it is to take heavily loaded vehicles, should provide a suitable route for this purpose.”
The A83 announcement was also welcomed by the Conservatives’ Highlands and Islands MSP Jamie McGrigor, who said: “This will be money well spent if it can keep open this vital route which has been plagued by so many blockages of late.
“The economy of Argyll is greatly dependent on the route and I hope that work goes ahead on this upgrading project as soon as possible.”