Minto’s A83 and ferry pledge

Jenni Minto MSP during her maiden speech at Holyrood on June 2, 2021.

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New Argyll & Bute MSP Jenni Minto has used her maiden speech to Holyrood to back quick improvements to the A83 and underline the importance of reliable ferry services.

During the election campaign, the Islay-based candidate had stressed the importance of a permanent solution to the A83 Rest and Be Thankful.

The high-level route through the mountains has been beset with landslips and closures for years with the Old Military Road utilised as an alternative route during bad weather.

As she made her opening bow to the Scottish Parliament on June 2, Ms Minto told ministers, including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon: ‘A permanent solution must be found and quickly for the Rest and Be Thankful and we need a reliable, versatile ferry fleet.

‘Farmers, fishers, whisky distillers, hauliers, small businesses, tourists and residents all depend on being able to travel safely and easily throughout Argyll and Bute.

‘I know the minister for transport has brought a new energy to solving these challenges and I look forward to working closely with him to find the solutions.’

Graeme Dey MSP was handed the transport brief following the cabinet reshuffle and Ms Minto said she immediately made contact to discuss the area’s twin transport problems.

Mr Dey has now visited the Rest to get an update on the progress and to thank staff for their hard work.

Mr Dey said: ‘Addressing the resilience of the A83 Rest and Be Thankful is one of our top priorities so I was pleased to be able to visit the site and see the project for myself.

‘I can assure local residents and road users that the situation is being treated with the seriousness and urgency it deserves, with measures to maintain connectivity on a short, medium and long term basis being implemented as quickly as possible.

‘Hearing first-hand accounts of the geo-technical challenges posed by this section of the road underlined the importance of the project.

‘I appreciate that the timescale to develop an alternative route as a long-term solution is frustrating for the local community, but we will look to bring forward the programme where we can.

‘This is a huge project, so it’s vital that we follow due process and undertake a thorough assessment of all the options and their potential impacts on the local communities.

‘I’d like to thank the staff at BEAR Scotland for bringing me up to date with progress, as well as for their continued hard work on site.’