A9 Dualling Programme Strategic Environmental Assessment Non-Technical Summary
10. Historic Environment
SEA Challenges/ Opportunities
A9 dualling presents a number of challenges with respect to the surrounding historic environment, such as avoiding adverse impacts on heritage assets, including effects on historic setting, whilst at the same time providing access to the assets within the corridor for visitors and tourists.
Scheduled monuments, listed buildings, an important battlefield site and other historic environment designations have been identified as key constraints within the A9 corridor.
|Feature Type||No.||No. at single carriageway sections||No. at already dualled sections|
|Historic Gardens & Designed Landscapes||3||
Route wide analysis identified 14 Scheduled Monuments within the 200m online corridor, seven of which are not likely to be further affected, as they are located around sections which are already dualled.
SEA considers that only Section B presents risks of direct adverse effects, given the proximity of some Scheduled Monuments to the current route.
Any physical loss would be a major adverse effect; however, where dualling designs avoid direct impacts, SEA considers that effects on setting will be minimal, again given their current proximity to the existing road.
At the route wide scale, there are likely to be a number of monuments outwith the 200m corridor that have visibility to / from the road. There are, therefore, likely to be some risks of locally minor adverse effects on the setting of such monument but online dualling is expected to minimise such risks.
Fifty one Listed Buildings (LB) were identified within the 200m corridor along the route, with 12 located around already dualled sections and considered unlikely to be affected by A9 dualling.
Of the 39 remaining LB, 12 were identified within 50m of single carriageway sections and may be at higher risk of direct and/ or indirect effects.
Dualling issues and alignment options around these buildings will need to be considered in much more detail at the local level, informed by consultations with the Local Authority, Historic Scotland and other relevant stakeholders.
SEA considers that the buildings at distances greater than 50m should be avoidable via selection of route alignment, within the context of other constraints; however, studies should similarly be informed by local level survey and consultation to avoid direct effects wherever possible.
Avoidance will mean that online dualling has the potential to present locally minor adverse effects on setting at the site level.
Where avoidance is not possible via route alignment studies, risk of loss is considered low; however, dualling has the potential for moderate to major adverse effects at the site level.
Battlefields are a relatively new statutory designation, created by the Historic Environment (Amendment) (Scotland) Act 2011, Section 11. The existing A9 passes through the designated Killiecrankie battlefield site; beginning with a dual carriageway section at the entrance to the Pass of Killiecrankie, transitioning to single carriageway through the remainder of the site.
This stretch through the battlefield represents around 12% of the online corridor in Section B and the 200m wide corridor covers just over 18% of the total battlefield site area; however, the real area at risk of change would be much lower than 18% when the actual width of the widened road is taken into consideration.
Option B4, via the opposite side of the Pass of Killiecrankie, was developed as an alternative. Option B4 would still be visible on the opposite side of the gorge, and when considered in the context of other constraints, it presents more issues for Ancient and Semi-Natural Woodland, SSSI and SAC designations and is to present major adverse impacts on other constraints.
On balance, SEA considers Option B4 to be less favourable and recommends the online corridor option at this location (with mitigation).
SEA considers that the online corridor option has the potential to present major adverse effects at the site level, associated with some permanent loss of land to road surfacing, and associated permanent visual change over current conditions.
SEA has not conducted surveys of the battlefield; therefore the strategic mitigation recommendation is to work with Historic Scotland and other key stakeholders to inform detailed design and to manage change in a sympathetic manner.
With strategic mitigation recommendations in place, SEA considers that residual impacts on the battlefield would be low in magnitude, resulting in a moderate adverse effect.
Historic Gardens & Designed Landscapes (GDL)
There are three GDL designations crossed by the 200m corridor; Murthly Castle, The Hermitage and Blair Castle.
SEA considers that the online corridor option has the potential to present locally minor adverse effects at the site level.
Effects are considered to be related to visual change associated with widening as opposed to physical losses.
Near offline Option A6 is likely to present major adverse impacts on The Hermitage GDL, as it would lead to physical loss of features within the site boundary. On this basis, SEA considers the online option more favourable in this area.
Near offline Option B5 could potentially reduce effects around the Blair Castle GDL, depending on the consideration of other constraints and local topography.
There are other GDLs in the area, including Scone Palace (already dualled section), Dunkeld House (opposite side of the River Tay), Falls of Bruar (opposite side of the Highland Mainline), Kinrara (opposite side of Loch Alvie and the Highland Mainline), and Doune of Rothiemurchus (opposite side of the Highland Mainline and River Spey).
Each of these GDL lie outwith the 200m corridor and are separated by the physical features noted, so are not considered at risk of direct impacts. There will likely remain some risk of indirect visual effects on these GDL, depending on the level of screening from the dualled A9.
Given their proximity to the current route, effects on setting are expected to be minimal; however, detailed designs will need to be informed by local visual impact assessment to include effects on the setting of these designed landscapes.
In all cases, local level consultation with Historic Scotland on alignment and detailed design will be required to ensure that the road is integrated with its surroundings and minimises the effects of road furniture, including signs, lighting and structures.
Birnam is the only Conservation Area (CA) in the study area crossed by the 200m online corridor.
Both the online corridor and near offline Option A6 run through the Birnam CA and, as trees within CAs are protected, Option A6 would present greater risks of major adverse effects due to the need to cut a swathe through well established woodlands within the CA boundaries.
Online dualling will likely require some tree removal/ edge clearance, but not to the same extent as Option A6. SEA determines that Option A6 is less favourable in this area.
There are other conservation areas near the A9, including at Dunkeld, Pitlochry and Inverness; however, these are all outwith the 200m corridor and both Dunkeld (Tay) and Pitlochry (Tummel) are on the opposite of the river from the current carriageway and corridor options. They are therefore not considered subject to direct impacts.