Introduction to the Proposed Project
BEAR Scotland Ltd has been commissioned by Transport Scotland to replace the existing A887 Allt Lagain Bhain road bridge. The Allt Lagain Bhain Bridge carries the A887 trunk road which is the main route between the A82 at Invermoriston and the Isle of Skye (via the A87). The site is located at National Grid Reference (NGR) NH 30958 13540 approximately 500 m west of the small settlement of Dundreggan.
The existing structure consists of a single 5 m span bridge which has been propped at its mid-span since 2001 and has a history of parapet damage due to its narrow deck width. The existing road bridge is currently in a very poor condition with the main reinforcement being severely corroded. Maintenance repairs are not feasible due to the extent of the work required and it is considered that the bridge has come to the end of its working life. In addition, there is a redundant historic masonry arch bridge which is immediately adjacent to the road bridge on its north side that will need to be demolished to accommodate the proposed scheme.
The Location of the Project
The Allt Lagain Bhain Bridge is located at NGR NH 30958 13540 on the A887 trunk road in Glen Moriston, west of the small settlement of Dundreggan (Figure 1.1). The River Moriston, including part of the Allt Lagain Bhain watercourse up to the downstream side of the trunk road bridge, is designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) due to its populations of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), and freshwater pearl mussels (Margaritifera margaritifera).
Environmental Impact Assessment – Legal Basis
The requirement for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is detailed in Sections 20A and 55A of the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984 as amended by Part III of the Environmental Impact Assessment (Scotland) Regulations 1999 and the Environmental Impact Assessment (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2006. EIA is a requirement under The Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations 2011, hereafter referred to as the ‘EIA Regulations’. The legislation details projects for which EIA is mandatory (Annex I) and projects for which EIA may be required where specified thresholds have been exceeded and significant effects are considered likely (Annex II). Annex II projects are screened for potentially significant effects with regard to Annex III criteria.
The A887 Allt Lagain Bhain Bridge Replacement is a “Relevant” Annex II project as it is located in part within the River Moriston Special Area of Conservation (SAC) – see Figure 6.2 for extents in relation to the project and Section 6.5 for baseline information. The project was screened initially by Scotland TranServ on behalf of Transport Scotland and, with regard to Annex III criteria, the potential for significant effects was identified and the requirement for EIA determined.
EIA has been undertaken as an integral part of the proposed scheme design and appraisal and environmental constraints have directly informed the design process. They will also inform the contract specification, incorporating measures to avoid, reduce, remedy or offset any significant predicted adverse environmental impacts.
The Environmental Statement - Purpose and Legislative Context
As stated in Section 1.3, the A887 Allt Lagain Bhain Bridge Replacement Project has been subject to EIA. The Environmental Statement (ES) reports on the findings of this assessment and aims to present the results in an objective, clear and comprehensive manner. Another objective of the ES is to inform all those with an interest in the project including the public, Scottish Ministers and organisations with statutory and non-statutory interests in the environment, of the likely effects of the proposals.
Schedule 4 of the EIA (Scotland) Regulations 1999 and the EIA Regulations provides detail of information to be included in Environmental Statements and accordingly, the ES provides:
A description of the proposed scheme, including information on the site, design and scale of the project. This will include details of the land use requirements during construction and operation of the proposed scheme as well as the nature, type and materials used.
An outline of the main alternatives and the main reasons for the choice of the preferred scheme, taking into account environmental effects.
A description of the aspects of the environment likely to be significantly affected by the proposed scheme.
A description of the likely significant effects on the environment arising from the proposed scheme. This will include direct, indirect, secondary, cumulative, short, medium and long-term, permanent, temporary, positive and negative effects and a description of the forecasting methods used to assess the impacts on the environment.
A description of the measures envisaged to avoid, prevent, reduce and where possible offset any significant adverse effect on the environment.
An indication of any difficulties (technical deficiencies or lack of know-how) encountered in compiling the required information.
A Non-technical Summary of the information provided above.
Structure and Content of the Environmental Statement
The ES presents the main report detailing the results of the EIA including figures and appendices that offer supporting information.
The structure of this ES is as follows:
Non-technical Summary (NTS) highlights the key impacts and proposed mitigation measures in non-technical language and is available as a separate document.
Chapter 1 includes this introduction, which presents the purpose of the report, the assessment team and the report structure.
Chapter 2 provides a description of the project and alternatives considered.
Chapter 3 provides details of methods used in the EIA.
Chapter 4 provides details of consultation and scoping carried out.
Chapters 5 to 8 each address a specific environmental topic area (determined through scoping, see Chapter 4), with subsections on assessment methods, baseline conditions, predicted impacts, mitigation measures and residual impacts under the following chapter headings:
Chapter 5: Cultural Heritage
Chapter 6: Ecology and Nature Conservation
Chapter 7: Landscape Effects
Chapter 8: Road Drainage and the Water Environment
Chapter 9 considers the cumulative impacts in terms of interactions between different environmental topics and with other existing or planned projects.
Chapter 10 provides a summary of effects.
Chapter 11 provides a schedule of environmental commitments.
Chapter 12 provides a list of references.
Chapter 13 provides a glossary of technical terms used in the ES.
The Assessment Team
The EIA was undertaken, managed and compiled by BEAR Scotland with additional specialist input provided by Highland Ecology and Development Ltd and CFA Archaeology Ltd.
Review and Comments
Copies of the ES are available for viewing by the public. These are on display at the following locations:
Transport Scotland Roads Directorate - Bridges Branch George House 2nd Floor 36 North Hanover Street Glasgow G1 2AD
Highland Council Charles Kennedy Building Achintore Road Fort William PH33 6RQ
Fort Augustus Post Office Great Glen Trading Centre Main Street Fort Augustus PH32 4DD
Any person wishing to make representation on the ES should write to Transport Scotland at the postal address or email provided above. Representations must be received within 42 days of the advertised date of the publication of the ES.