Pressure groups have blasted a “shocking lack of ambition” amid Scottish Government plans to upgrade one of Scotland’s busiest roads.
The A82, which carries around six million vehicles each year, is being considered for upgrade proposals in a bid to reduce congestion.
The section from Tarbet and Inverarnan, which runs adjacent to the west bank of Loch Lomond and the River Falloch, is the focus of the plans.
However, campaign groups Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs (FOLLAT) and the countryside access body, Helensburgh and District Access Trust (HADAT) have said the Scottish Government consultation has been “woefully inadequate”.
In a submission to the Parliamentary Petitions Committee last week, FOLLAT and HADAT called for the protection of Loch Lomond’s Atlantic oakwood shoreline by implementing the High Road option for the A82 upgrade.
Chair of both HADAT and FOLLAT, John Urquhart said: “The special qualities of the landscape are not being recognised, nature and natural processes given scant attention or ignored and golden opportunities to improve life for residents, visitors and travellers squandered.
“The Low Road solution for the A82 from Tarbet to Inverarnan will destroy large areas of irreplaceable Atlantic oakwood forest and blight eight miles of Loch Lomond’s bonny banks with tarmac, concrete, steel and roaring, polluting traffic.”
He added: “The villages of Tarbet and Ardlui will be forever sentenced to the constant din and dust of six million vehicles annually passing within a few feet of front doors, pavements and primary school.”
He also raised concerns about disruption to the nature landscape of the West Highland Way.
In 2021, a public consultation was launched to gather views on the changes to the route after design work was carried out.
A Transport Scotland spokesperson said: “As with all improvements to the trunk road we are following a rigorous assessment process to establish the design of the A82 Tarbet to Inverarnan scheme.
“The options appraisal process for the scheme was undertaken in a manner underpinned by the principles of Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance and the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges (DMRB).”
She said: “We fully understand people feel strongly about this route and this is why maintaining the natural beauty of this key lifeline link is an integral part of the design to ensure we deliver the right scheme and keep impacts on the environment to the absolute minimum.”
The statement continued: “As with all our major projects, engagement with local communities and other stakeholders is also at the heart of scheme development. This will ensure feedback received is taken into account as we develop our plans.
“While there is still a lot of development work to be carried out, which is being informed by our enhanced understanding of the specific complexities associated with improving this iconic route, we continue to push forward the preparation stages.”
STV News has contacted the Scottish Government for comment.
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