Petition urges Rest and be Thankful probe

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A probe into the handling of the situation at the landslide-prone Rest and be Thankful may have moved a step closer.

A Scottish Parliament petition by Argyll and Bute councillors Dougie Philand, Mid Argyll, and Donald Kelly, South Kintyre, seeking support for a public inquiry into the management of the project, has been accepted for publication by a parliamentary committee.

The petition calls on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to instigate a public inquiry regarding the political and financial management of the A83 Rest and be Thankful project, which is to provide a permanent solution for the route.

In support of their petition, Councillors Philand and Kelly wrote: ‘We have raised two petitions at the Scottish Parliament calling for a permanent solution.

‘We have the support of our local MSP Jenni Minto, our local MP Brendan O’Hara and the previous cabinet secretary Michael Russell.

‘We undertook a petition in 2012 and had more than 400 businesses and over 10,000 signatories for a permanent solution. We advocated for an A83 task force which is currently in process.

‘It is important to state that on the hillside presently there is 100,000 tonnes of unstable hillside which could fall at any time. If this was to fall it would be devastating for the connectivity of the area.

‘This problem has been well documented over the years and how serious a problem this is.

‘The work by the Scottish Government to date whilst welcome has not and will not provide stability to the only lifeline road in and out of Argyll, and it can be said confidently if the M8 between Glasgow and Edinburgh were to constantly be blocked it would not take 19 years to find a permanent solution.

‘Since the petitions were launched, with the backing of 10,000 signatures, the cost of the mitigation exercise has been in the region of £90 million since 2007 with no permanent solution in sight.’

The Citizen Participation and Public Petitions Committee will now consider the petition and could potentially ask for evidence from the Scottish Government or other organisations; refer the petition to another committee; recommend actions for the Scottish Government; or ask for a debate in the parliamentary chamber.