Forbes and Cameron seek review of myriad of Fort speed limits

Constituency MSP Kate Forbes has refuted criticism of her survey aimed at prioritising work on A82 blackspots. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, The Write Image. NO-F50-KATE-FORBES-A82-03-scaled.jpg
Constituency MSP Kate Forbes, pictured, who has linked up with fellow MSP Donald Cameron to request a review of the myriad of different speed limits in and around Fort William. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, The Write Image. NO-F50-KATE-FORBES-A82-03-scaled.jpg

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A call has been made for a review of the numerous varying speed limits in and around Fort William.

MSPs Kate Forbes and Donald Cameron have written to Transport Scotland urging officials to review the  limits following concerns from constituents.

From the Croit Anna Hotel beside the A82 trunk road on the southside of Fort William to the Annat Industrial Estate near Corpach on the A830 trunk road, the speed limit changes nine times.

Ms Forbes and Mr Cameron want Transport Scotland to launch a consultation with the wider community and regular road users to see if a streamlined speed limit would be more beneficial.

Mr Cameron said: ‘There appears to be a case for simplifying the speed limits for this stretch of the road and I know Kilmallie Community Council has been raising this issue for some time.

‘Clarity is essential when it comes to road safety and I hope Transport Scotland will bear that in mind when reviewing the current arrangements.’

Ms Forbes added: ‘I recognise this is a difficult issue and I would support a review of the speed limit. A consultation would allow people to express their views and for data to be taken into account.

‘I am always happy to work alongside my fellow Highland MSP Donald Cameron, even though he represents a different party. In these times, it is important we are all pulling together to serve the people of the Highlands.’

Acting chairman of Kilmallie Community Council and one-time divisional roads engineer with Highland Regional Council John Hutchison told the Lochaber Times: ‘You certainly expect speed limits to vary over a seven-mile length of trunk road that passes through some built up areas, but the variations in recent years have been in response to specific changes, such as the new roundabouts at Lochybridge and Blàr Mòr, so a whole-length review would be sensible.

‘Traffic speeds are a regular concern for community councils. A factor influencing the review must be the planned speed limit reductions from 30mph to 20mph that the Highland Council will shortly be implementing on council roads.

‘In some locations a step-down from 40mph to 20mph on the side road would seem odd and therefore less likely to be respected.’

The joint action by Ms Forbes, SNP constituency MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, and Mr Cameron,  Conservative Highlands and Islands MSP, comes as recently published figures from the Scottish Government show fatalities have increased on the A82, which runs from Glasgow to Inverness, via Fort William, over the past five years.

From 2015-19, 27 people lost their lives on the A82 – an increase of four over the previous five years (2010-14), with last year (2019) alone witnessing seven deaths. Over the last decade, 50 people have died as a result of accidents on the A82.

The A830 running from Fort William to Mallaig witnessed three deaths in the last five years, with a total of six over the last decade, with two of those fatalities occurring last year (2019).

Over the past decade the A9 was Scotland’s deadliest trunk road with 74 fatalities – although there has been a drop in the numbers – but the A82 is now not far behind.

Ms Forbes, who recently published a consultation seeking targeted improvements to the A82, said: ‘Every death is a tragedy and these figures remind us that Highland roads continue to claim so many lives.

‘The A9 continues to be the deadliest road, but the fall in the numbers is something that should be carefully studied to learn how we can make it even safer. Both the average speed cameras and the dualling will make a big difference.

‘The A82 is not far behind. Every accident and fatality is a cause for grief. I am determined to do all we can to improve safety on the A82.’

CAPTION: MSP Kate Forbes, who has linked up with fellow MSP Donald Cameron to request a review of the different speed limits in and around Fort William. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, The Write Image. NO-F50-KATE-FORBES-A82-03-scaled.jpg