Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (Signage)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 15th May 2019.

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Photo of Peter Chapman Peter Chapman Conservative

4. To ask the Scottish Government what plans it has to review the signage for the AWPR. (S5O-03233)

Photo of Michael Matheson Michael Matheson Scottish National Party

Significant consultation was undertaken prior to designing the signage for this project. That resulted in a strategy that was agreed with local authorities during the design development stage.

Prior to opening to traffic, all new sections of road undergo a safety audit that includes a thorough review of signage. All signage is reviewed to ensure that it fully meets the required design and road safety standards. The audit confirmed that all signage is compliant with the appropriate standards and the aforementioned strategy. Consequently, no further changes are planned.

Photo of Peter Chapman Peter Chapman Conservative

I thank the cabinet secretary for that answer, but I am disappointed with it. There have been a litany of issues with the management of the AWPR project, and signage is one that is still causing problems.

I will give the cabinet secretary three specific examples of where the signage falls down. First, signage at the start of the AWPR at the Stonehaven end do not include major north-east towns such as Fraserburgh and Peterhead. As a result, I have been contacted by local businesses in those areas, because drivers heading to the towns who do not know the area do not take the AWPR and end up going through Aberdeen.

Secondly, the signage still does not show that tractors are banned from the route, causing confusion and disruption to the local farming community.

Thirdly, local businesses on the old route have had their own signage removed because Transport Scotland does not allow it but refuses to work with them to find a compromise.

It is clear that the signage is not up to scratch, so I ask the cabinet secretary to commit to working with north-east councils and communities and to conduct a further review—

Photo of George Adam George Adam Scottish National Party

This question is taking longer than it took to build the road.

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

Excuse me! I will decide when a question is taking too long. Will you finish please, Mr Chapman?

Photo of Peter Chapman Peter Chapman Conservative

Thank you.

It is clear that the signage is not up to scratch. Will the cabinet secretary commit to working with north-east councils and communities and conduct a review of it?

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

Can we have a short answer, please, cabinet secretary?

Photo of Michael Matheson Michael Matheson Scottish National Party

There was a delay in the completion of the road. However, it was delayed for some 65 years, before this Government made sure that it was delivered for the north-east of Scotland.

The member is incorrect. The audit shows that the standards of the signage are correct. The strategy for the signs was agreed with the local authorities, and it has been complied with in the completion of the route.

The member said that some of the signs are not able to hold local route information. In part, that is because if that was included, there would be too little room for the signs to carry the information that is required.

The member has raised the issue of tractors being allowed on the road on a number of occasions. The orders to designate the road a special road were issued back in 2010. It is a special road that is not allowed to be used by agricultural vehicles of the type that I know Mr Chapman is keen to see using it. I am afraid that they are not allowed.

Photo of Peter Chapman Peter Chapman Conservative

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. I have just realised that I have been speaking about tractors and I did not declare an interest as a farmer, so I do so now.

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

I am pretty sure that most people would have guessed that you are a farmer.