Posted by Sophia Shafi on the Gairloch & Surrounding Area forum on Facebook:
By way of update, received today from the Scottish Government.
“[You] may wish to note that it is the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984 (“the 1984 Act”) that defines a road. It provides that a roads is:
“any way (other than a waterway) over which there is a public right of passage (by whatever means and whether subject to a toll or not) and includes the road’s verge; and any bridge (whether permanent or temporary, over which the road passes; and any tunnel through which the road passes; and any reference to a road includes a part thereof…..”
It also provides that local authorities are the local road authority for all “roads” in their area. While a local authority is only responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of public roads on its list of roads, it is the roads authority over all “roads” in their area (as defined above), except those that the Scottish Ministers are responsible for i.e. trunk roads and motorways.
Responsibilities of roads authorities extend to traffic signs and you may wish to contact the Highland Council in relation to your concerns. Where the sign is not a traffic sign, the local authority as the planning authority may have responsibilities for granting planning permission to signage.
I hope this is helpful.”
I thank the author for giving us this clarification. It makes it clear that
A) The road is under the ultimate jurisdiction of the Highland Council
B) the erection of any road sign needs to be with the authority of the Council
As there has been no notice/ approval whatsoever from the Council with regards to the erection of the sign in Melvaig, then it stands that this sign should be wholly ignored. Further to this, Tracy and Roger have been requested to remove the sign on the grounds that it is both hazardous and deliberately misleading.
Whilst the removal of the sign is down to those who erected it (and not the public), the sign itself should be ignored and the public rights of passage enjoyed.
If any member of the public who uses the road is subsequently challenged by those who erected it, then the public should be aware that the sign is not approved by the council and therefore unlawfully placed.
I will be in touch with the various tourist information centres over the next day or so with a view to clarifying the actual legal position with regards to vehicular access to The Lighthouse and the various places of interest surrounding it.
NB – if I’m challenged as to the veracity of this correspondence, then please be assured that I have the original communication. The one I have posted has been appropriately redacted for the purposes of social media.