FOI reference: FOI/17/01745
Date received: 1 July 2017
Date responded: 28 July 2017
The reason(s) Transport Scotland (TS) gave for their rejection of Option 'N' (Pluscarden area). Note that the reply may be used in a report. Could TS also please qualify that a fee is due for using the information for report use?
As the information you have requested is 'environmental information' for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA. This exemption is subject to the 'public interest test'.
Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.
"The reason(s) Transport Scotland (TS) gave for their rejection of Option 'N' (Pluscarden area)." Please find below a link to the press release that was issued to coincide with the public exhibitions held in Elgin, Fochabers and Forres between 19-22 June 2017 which gave locals and road users the opportunity to view and comment on the route options under consideration for the A96 Dualling Hardmuir to Fochabers scheme. As stated in the press release, following initial options assessment for the A96 dualling scheme between Hardmuir and Fochabers, no further design work is to take place in the vicinity of the Pluscarden Valley near Elgin. Initial design and assessment work showed that options in the Pluscarden area did not perform well in terms of traffic and these have now been ruled out.
This was also included in the material presented at the exhibitions a copy of which is available on the Transport Scotland website at:
Further design work is now being progressed on all remaining options along with a detailed Engineering, Environmental, Traffic and Economic assessment in order to identify a preferred option. This assessment will be formally reported in a DMRB Stage 2 Scheme Assessment Report which will be prepared and published once the assessment has been completed. As Transport Scotland moves to identify a preferred route option next year, further public consultations will be undertaken as part of our rolling programme of engagement to ensure that communities, businesses and individuals affected by the work are kept fully informed and their vital feedback taken into account. "Note that the reply may be used in a report. Could TS please qualify that a fee is due for using the information for report use?"
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Central Enquiry Unit
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The Scottish Government
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