‘Excellent progress’ on Argyll and Bute roads, says Audit Scotland

Argyll and Bute Council has made “excellent progress” in improving the state of its road network, according to an Audit Scotland report - but there’s still a risk that the authority hasn’t set aside enough money to make all the improvements required.

Those are the main findings which were reported at a meeting of the council on Thursday, when the authority’s ‘roads asset management and maintenance strategy’ was approved.

The Audit Scotland report comes after an audit on all 32 Scottish councils in 2004, which was followed up in 2011 and again earlier this year.

The report also recommends better ‘benchmarking’ to allow the council’s performance to be compared to that of other local authorities.

Argyll and Bute’s lead councillor for development and infrastructure, John Semple, said the new strategy would help reduce the need for ‘reactive’ maintenance on council roads.

“It will prioritise routes based on the how road condition affects the local economy and the quality of life for local people,” Cllr Semple said, “and will maximise the impact of works on the road condition whilst making the best use of available resources.

“A three year roads recovery programme of works which largely focuses on surface treatments will be progressed and a ten year improvement programme developed.”

Councillors were told on Thursday that the authority’s roads reconstruction programme for 2012-13 was already around 85 per cent complete, and that by 2015 more than half of the A class roads in the area will be upgraded, as would nearly one-third of B class roads.

Thursday’s meeting also approved a new policy which will see the council consider taking on responsibility for unadopted private roads “in exceptional circumstances and “if it is in the public interest”.

In such circumstances, a full business case will have to be prepared before any decision is made.