Rest and be Thankful petition gathers pace

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Members of the public from all corners of Argyll, as well as regular visitors from beyond the region, are coming forward in their masses to get behind the campaign to resolve the issues on the A83 once and for all – sooner rather than later.

A petition by the business-led Rest and be Thankful Campaign group calling for a permanent solution at Glen Croe by 2024 went live last Monday, October 18, and within a couple of days the petition had received more than 1,500 signatures.

At the time of going to print this week that number had shot up to 2,188 (update).

The petition 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 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 Mr Dey 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 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 current plans to continue closing the road when it rains, without a suitable temporary solution, and will not rethink the lengthy project to decide on a permanent solution’.

‘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,’ said Mr Gurr

‘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 is now proposing a further 10 years to deliver a permanent solution.’

Oban Business Improvement District (BID4Oban) is one of the many business groups and organisations on the RBT campaign group and chief executive Andrew Spence is urging everyone in Oban and the surrounding area to sign the petition.

‘Having good reliable and most of all safe road links in and out of Argyll is crucial not only to businesses but to tourism, farming, transport and emergency services among many.

‘We have to keep the pressure on and make sure this issue is given priority and a solution found before there is a total disaster on this flood prone major road.’

To add your signature to the ‘Deliver permanent solution to the Rest and Be Thankful by 2024’ petition, visit chng.it/RQDn8NHcdf

In a separate move, Argyll and Bute councillors Dougie Philand (Mid Argyll) and Donald Kelly (South Kintyre) of the political grouping Argyll and Bute First have submitted a petition to the Scottish Parliament asking for a full public enquiry into the management of the Rest and be Thankful project.