Seeing the trees

The announcement that £122,000 is to be spent cutting back trees and bushes to improve visibility for drivers on the A9 north of Perth (your report, 15 February) is to be applauded, but it begs the question of why no-one noticed them growing in the first place.

Trees do not grow overnight, so this is a problem that has developed over several years and it is a lack of action that has resulted in the current necessity to throw a vast sum of money at it.

Regular routine attention would have prevented this.

This is symptomatic of the lack of continuity, and hence responsibility, resulting from Transport Scotland’s method of operating short-term (five-year) contracts for maintaining the trunk roads.

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The contract for the current operator (Bear Scotland) only started in April 2013, so it can rightly say that it has inherited the situation from the previous contractor.

However, there is one place where there has been continuity over a long period of time.

Transport Scotland employs an organisation to monitor and report on the performance of the trunk road contractors.

The Performance Audit Group has been doing this since 1996 and is paid £2.5 million per year for doing so.

Where was the Performance Audit Group when the trees were growing? Maybe it didn’t notice.

Douglas Kent

James Street