FAQ's

FAQ’s

The A701 Relief Road and A702 Link Road represent essential infrastructure necessary to support planned development in the A701 corridor, to ease congestion and critically, to support the City Deal growth project at Easter Bush Estate, promoted by the University of Edinburgh.  In tandem, the bypassed section of the A701 will be developed as a sustainable transport corridor re-prioritising existing road space for improved walking, cycling and public transport provision and maintaining local access.

The scheme, which is a commitment under the Midlothian Local Development Plan and the City Region Deal, will benefit the Midlothian region opening up opportunities for housing and economic development and allowing for the existing A701 to be converted into a more sustainable transport corridor.

We are currently working through route options and we are seeking comments on those now.  You can find details of the routes on this website and you can leave comments and raise questions on the website too.  You can also ask questions in the community consultation event.  After that the project team will take comments and questions from the consultation into account, plus the findings from multiple assessments and surveys and use those to inform the final route selection.  The final route selection will then form a planning application.  We intend to hold a further consultation prior to lodging the planning application to take further comments and questions on the preferred option. A planning application will then be lodged and there will be an opportunity to formally comment on the planning application at that time.  Please note that any comments received during the community consultation process are not formal representations to the future planning application.

The planning application for the selected route will be made in 2022.  We will keep the website updated on progress so keep checking here. 

Following the generation of initial route options the current process (Scottish Transport Analysis Guide (STAG) Part 2 appraisal of options for providing a new connection between the A701 and A702/A703) will identify a preferred route.  The selection process takes into Transport Planning Objectives, STAG Criteria, and Implementability Criteria.

Transport Planning Objectives are:

  • Support economic and employment growth in the local area, including: Enabling the delivery of the A701 corridor Strategic Development Area.
  • Help facilitate safe and reliable sustainable transport and access for A701 corridor communities.

STAG Criteria are Environment, Safety, Economy, Integration, Accessibility, Social Inclusion.

Implementability Criteria are Feasibility, Affordability, Public Acceptability.

A series of environmental, engineering, and traffic related assessments have been undertaken. These are summarised within the virtual meeting hall.

 Yes, once the route option has been selected an Environmental Impact Assessment will be undertaken.  That will form part of the future planning application.  

The public can register for the consultation event from this website.  The format will be online.  Because of COVID restrictions the decision has been taken to restrict the consultation exercise to online only, although hard copies of consultation material are available in Midlothian Council Libraires.  The event will consist of a presentation which will explain the background to the road assessment, the work undertaken to date, the options selected and the next steps.  There will then be an opportunity for the public to ask questions via a chat function which the project team will answer.  Should there be questions that are not answered on the day then they will be answered in this Q&A section of the website after the consultation event.

The A701 corridor already experiences significant traffic congestion, which is likely to be made worse by future development. The capacity of the A701 to serve the expanding communities and support business growth in the corridor would be an issue, as well as meeting the retail and employment needs of the expanding communities. The Midlothian Local Development Plan supports the delivery of A701 relief road and a link to the A702 as it would address these issues and also it would support housing and employment development, enable the achievement of the full potential of the bioscience sector, and support the establishment of a Midlothian Gateway. The A701 is identified as a strategic green network connection and there will be opportunities for active travel and environmental protection.

The Midlothian Local Development Plan states that the proposed transport interventions in the A701 Corridor will enhance the prospects for existing firms as well as new development opportunities in this corridor, such as the Midlothian Science Zone, Straiton and Ashgrove. The plan aims to safeguard the location of the Science Zone for research and development and associated biomanufacturing uses.  The Midlothian Local Development Plan states that the proposed A701 relief road will improve traffic flow in the A701 corridor and promote active travel with beneficial effects on air quality overall.  The proposed A701 relief road and A702 link is one of a series of measures recognised to mitigate the effects of the planned growth in the A701 corridor strategic development area. Other measures include prioritising the existing road for walking, cycling and public transport improvements – Straiton roundabout to A701/A703 junction. Extensions to secondary and primary schools and a primary school for Auchendinny is also considered.

Traffic surveys carried out along the A701 prior to the pandemic indicated that traffic congestion between Straiton and south of A701/703 junction reduced traffic speeds by over 50% along parts of the corridor (in the am peak period) compared with the evening off-peak period and increased journey times by up to 3 mins. Significant levels of delay occur along the route throughout the day and are not limited to the peak hours.

Recent survey data indicates that traffic levels continue to recover to pre-Covid levels and are now higher than pre-Covid levels along some routes and more than 85% along many other routes compared with pre-pandemic traffic flows.

The scheme is required to support development, manage traffic flows, reduce congestion and enable the Council to develop a sustainable travel corridor along the existing A701 focused on active travel and public transport improvements. This scheme is required to facilitate more sustainable travel along the existing A701 corridor and will alleviate congestion, and as such will directly contribute to climate action targets. A Walking, Cycling, and Horse Riding assessment will be carried out as part of the appraisal process.

The extent to which you will be affected depends on a number of factors. As a landowner/occupier directly impacted by the route options you will have been contacted by the project design team and had the opportunity to provide input via a questionnaire. Should your access be directly affected by the scheme a suitable alternative access will be provided.  This will be discussed with you during the consultation process and we would look to meet with in person to discuss.

Once the preferred route option is known, we will be able to ascertain the parties who will be directly impacted by the scheme.  At this stage the extent of the impact is not fully known but we will consult with all affected parties in due course.  Parties who are impacted by the route options at this stage have already been contacted by the land consultant team and had an opportunity to complete a questionnaire allowing them to voice their opinions and concerns.  We will continue to engage with potentially affected parties over the next few months as the scheme develops further.

The justification for the road infrastructure is set out in the adopted Midlothian Local Development Plan and associated document, in particular the Report of Examination. These documents are available to view online at – https://www.midlothian.gov.uk/info/205/planning_policy/286/development_plans_and_policies. Unless the Council can reduce congestion along the A701 it will be unable to introduce and promote walking, cycling and public transport improvements, to encourage people to make more sustainable travel choices and, ultimately start to address these targets.

The technical drawings for each route are available for download on the website at the bottom of the route options page – https://www.a701reliefroad.co.uk/route-options/. You can also download a pdf version of the information boards in the virtual exhibition here: https://www.a701reliefroad.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/A4-Boards.pdf

The funding for the road is committed through the Endinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal and includes contributions from Government, Midlothian Council and the private sector via developer contributions.

The proposals form part of the Easter Bush Agri-Tech project. The Business Case was approved by the ESESCRD Joint Committee in March this year and a delivery programme agreed which would see road construction potentially start in 2024. The programme is regularly reviewed by the Council an its Civils Project Managers, with the UoE through the Easter Bush Working Group and through the regulatory boards and Joint Committee of the ESESCRD Partnership.

Yes, the agreed mix of uses may include residential (see Report of Examination)

The Council is working closely with Transport Scotland to make sure the design of the road and junctions connecting to their part of the network on the A702 and A720 comply with standards and do not have any adverse impact on the operational management of the trunk road network. Agreement with Transport Scotland will be required to confirm at what stage of the project they consider it appropriate and acceptable to support planning consents without exacerbating the current levels of congestion.

The need for the infrastructure is not in doubt. It is necessary to support the scale of planned development in the A701 corridor and the City Deal funding is committed to delivering it as part of the Easter Bush Agri-Tech project.

Yes, the Council has a dedicated officer responsible for managing Developer Contributions arsing from planned development identified in the adopted LDP and “windfall” developments (proposals not identified when the plan was being prepared) through individual planning applications.

The closest relief road alignment to the A701 at Straiton forms the western boundary of site Ec3 – mixed commercial uses including residential. If an alternative alignment for this section is selected the boundary to Ec3 will remain as is.

Recent survey data indicates that traffic levels continue to recover to pre-Covid levels and are now higher than pre-Covid levels along some routes and more than 85% along many other routes compared with pre-pandemic traffic flows as drivers choose to travel by car in preference to using public transport.

The road will be partly funded by developer contributions with the level yet to be determined

Developer contributions from house builders are calculated on a per unit basis whereas commercial developments are based on a floorspace basis per square metre.

The design team has taken account of the nature and the modelled impact of planned developemnts in the adopted MLDP and is updated by the Council on any additional planning applications received during the course of the design process.

It is estimated that the construction period for the proposed scheme will be 18 months.

It is the Council’s intention to do so. The principle has been established through the MLDP, funding has been committed through the ESES City Region Deal and we have established a project team to take forward the design and development anf have progressed someway down that route.

The primary purpose is to relieve congestion to support the scale of planned development. To this end the Government has accepted the case for the proposed infrastructure through the adopted MLDP and the ESES City Region Deal.

It is up to the Council to determine the optimum solution following the outcome of the STAG process and advice from its consultant design team.

The need for the road infrastructure is required for the scale of planned development in the current adopted MLDP and will be subject of a walking, cycling and horse riding assessment as part of the ongoing design process. Each of the options include adjustments to the existing local road network which could incorporate active travel components that would better connect places and facilitate more sustainable travel choices for short/local trips. The new National Planning Framework (NPF) – NPF4 – was published on the 10 November and the consultation period runs to 31 March 2022. It will set the housing land requirement for the next MLDP and introduces the concept of the 20 minute neighbourhood and living more locally. The next review of the MLDP will consider what this looks like and how it may be applied across the different communities in Midlothian.

The cost will relate to the specific option selected. The City Deal has been formulated on an estimated cost of £30M

The MLDP identifies all the current committed and safeguarded housing sites. The need for any additional sites in the A701 corridor would be a consideration for the next MLDP which is likely to start sometime later next year.

The proposal will redirect through traffic away from the current A701 which has known physical capacity constraints. The new relief road and link road will allow the Council to re-prioritise road space on the existing A701 in favour of walking, cycling and bus based public transport iprovements.

The carbon impact of projects is a requirement of the City Deal process and an assessment is being prepared to comply with new Government guidance published in August this year.

Yes, the scheme information is available to view in hard copy at the Dalkeith, Danderhall, Gorebridge, Loanhead, Newtongrange, and Penicuik Libraries.

The Council is seeking to incorporate the work on Active Travel infratsructure as part of the road infrastructure project and therfore align it with the that project programme.

The Relief Road/ Link road is required to relieve congestion from the A701 and allow the creation of a sustainable travel corridor with improved cycle routes along the existing A701 therefore additional road network capacity is required if a multi-modal solution is to be delivered.

It is the A701 relief road and A702 link road which provide the necessary solution to existing north/south congestion on the A701. Removing through traffic from the existing A701 will free up road space to be reprioritised for active travel and public transport measures to provide safer routes for commuting, leisure and shopping trips on foot, by bike and/or bus. Housing developments at Bilston adjacent to the A703 and Seafield Road will provide additional footpath connections with the village and the A701 and these measures will be taken into account at the detailed design phase.

A sustainable travel corridor will be created along the existing A701. any provision related to the A701 relief road and A702 link road will be considered during the detailed design phase.

The walking cycling and horse riding assessment will indicate what potential may exist for these modes of travel. The assessement is underway and will report in due course.

A sustainable travel corridor will be created along the existing A701. any provision related to the A701 relief road and A702 link road will be considered during the detailed design phase.

A sustainable travel corridor will be created along the existing A701. any provision related to the A701 relief road and A702 link road will be considered during the detailed design phase. Bus based improvements as being considered as a whole that will link into this project longer term.

A sustainable travel corridor will be created along the existing A701. A segregated cycleway/ footway will be considered in the first instance as the primary preferred option together with controlled junctions prioritising walking and cycling. Feasibility work is ongoing.

A walking, cycling, horse riding assessment is currently being undertaken. Community groups have been consulted and will continue to be consulted during the detailed design phase and planning application submission.

Sustainable travel includes green modes of transport walking, cycling, public transport etc to move away from single car users and work towards meeting climate targets for the council locally and anationally.

A public consultation event has been conducted and is available to view on the scheme website. Input can be provided on particular areas of concern via the editable map on the scheme website. A separate consultation will shortly be made public related to a new active travel strategy for Midlothian and views here will feed into this.

This is under consideration during the detailed design phase and Ec3 development masterplanning.

There is a programme we are working towards and the modelling team are content that this will provide a representative set of results that can be correlated vs peak usage

Bus based improvements as being considered as a whole that will link into this project longer term. Details of this will be made public in due course

This is under consideration during the detailed design phase and Ec3 development masterplanning.

The proposed A701 Relief and A702 Link Road increases route choice. The existing A701 is not closed and traffic is able to continue to travel to local destinations. The A701 Relief Road is a quicker route for through traffic as it has few junctions and a higher speed limit is higher. Existing local trips along the A701 will benefit as the traffic flow will reduce when through traffic diverts to the Relief Road.

The forecast traffic flow along the A703 is within the road capacity. Midlothian Council frequently reviews the design and maintenance of the road network to assess operational issues such as those relating to surface water and brings forward annual maintenance measures to address issues within its programme as the earliest opportunity.

The A701 Relief Road and A702 Link Road increase route choice within the study area and the traffic model forecast that vehicles will reroute to reduce the overall cost of travel. The design capacity of the proposed junctions is higher than the forecast flow of traffic and reduces the levels of delay and congestion.

Signficant changes in travel flows and distribution were observed during the pandemic compared with before. Emerging data suggests that traffic flows are returning to a similar level as pre-Covid. This will be kept under review during the detailed design stages

The proposed design and layout of the junctions were presented during the period of the public consultation. The forecast traffic flows were based on data prepared on behalf of Transport Scotland and subjected to independent audit, and the model development reports and audits are available from Transport Scotland. The technical design of the proposed junctions designs of the scheme will take into account feedback from the public consultation as well as a wide range of other factors, such as the needs of cyclists and pedestrians.

The design of junctions such as the Old Pentland Road/A701 junction will be reviewed during the detailed design stage. The overall level of traffic flow modelled along Old Pentland Road is similar to existing flows, however there is a change in the distribution of traffic flows between the arms appraoching the juntion and these will be reviewed again at the detailed design stage

The A701 Relief Road and A702 Link Road scheme options have been designed to provide relief to existing traffic congestion and forecast traffic growth, seperating local traffic movements from through movements along A701. It is forecast that the A701 Relief Road will significantly reduce journey time and improve jounrey time reliability compared with journeys along the existing A701 corridor. Local journeys along the A701 corridor will also benefit as the result of the removal of through traffic. The proposed increase in residential developments and growth in development set out within the Midlothian Local Development Plan as well as traffic growth within the region was taken into consideration within the traffic model forecasts

The model of the A701 Relief Road and A702 Link Road scheme forecasts significant journey time savings for all 6 options within the A701 corrrdior for a wide range of traffic movements throughout the study area.

The traffic model forecasts that traffic will benefit from increased route choice and lower journey times following the construction of the A701 Relief Road and A702 Link Road. The scheme provides local benefits within the study area by increasing route choice and facilitates the movement of traffic . For example, traffic flows along A720 between Straiton and Hillend are forecast to reduce slightly as traffic has greater route choices along A701, A702 and A703. Traffic flows along the A701 and A702 vary slightly between each option by time of day and direction.

It is proposed to undertake an extensive survey of existing walking, cycling and horse-riding movements throughout the study area along existing links and turning movements at junctions. The proposed design of the scheme will take into consideration both existing movements, the impact of the forecast changes in traffic flows and opportunities for improving facilities for Active Travel models.

The distribution in traffic flows between the roads to and from the Hillend junction are forecast to change as the result of the scheme.

The distribution in traffic flows between the roads approaching the Hillend junction are forecast to change as the result of the increase in route choice that arises due to the scheme. The balance in flows at Hillend (A702) and Straiton (A701) to and from the City bypass also changes, with drivers choosing the least congested route, and this results in a small decrease in flows along the city bypass between the two junctions. Major congestion around the Lothianburn area is not forecast.

The traffic model forecasts that traffic will benefit from increased route choice and lower journey times following the construction of the A701 Relief Road and A702 Link Road. The scheme provides local benefits within the study area by increasing route choice and facilitates the movement of traffic . For example, traffic flows along A720 between Straiton and Hillend are forecast to reduce slightly as traffic has greater route choices along A701, A702 and A703. The traffic flows along the A701 and A702 will vary slightly between each option by time of day and direction.

The SRM (Southeast Scotland Regional Model) model has been used for the appraisal and the traffic forecast years are 2027 and 2037.

The proposed increase in residential developments included within the Midlothian Local Development Plan have been taken into account within the traffic model forecasts. The forecast change in the level of development and traffic growth within the wider model area has also been modelled. The A701 Relief Road and A702 Link Road have been designed to provide relief to existing traffic congestion, seperating local traffic movements from through movements along A701. It is forecast that the A701 Relief Road will reduce journey time and improve journey time reliability compared with journeys along the existing A701 corridor. Local journeys along the A701 corridor will benefit from the removal of through traffic.

The model forecast years are 2027 and 2037.

The A701 Relief Road and A702 Link Road provide congestion relief to the A701 and reduces travel times along the A701 corridor varies by time of day by up to 3 minutes. The distribution in traffic flows between the roads approaching the Hillend junction are forecast to change as the result of the increase in route choice that arises due to the scheme. The balance in flows at Hillend (A702) and Straiton (A701) to and from the City bypass also changes, with drivers choosing the least congested route, and this results in a small decrease in flows along the city bypass between the two junctions. Major congestion around the Lothianburn area is not forecast. The A702 and A720 are trunk roads and the responsibility of Transport Scotland.

The A701 Relief Road and A702 Link Road provide local journey time saving benefits within the local area of the scheme. For traffic movements along the A701 corridor journey the journey time savings depend on the time of day, with a maximum savaing of 3 minutes in the peak period. The overall level of benefit for longer distance trips is unchanged as the journey time saving is along the A701 Relief Road.

The Strategic Development Plan and Midlothian Local Development Plan set out the 5 year development plan for Midlothian in accordance with Government Planning Policy to ensure economic growth. A reduction in road journey time is of benefit to all road users including public transport users, commuters travelling to work, emergency services and businesses. Local trips as well as longer distance trips continue to benefit from the planned improvements and time savings may accumulate from a number of similar schemes along routes and facilitates the successfull implientationof the LDP.

Circular 3-2009 “Notification of Planning Applications” sets out the circumstances in which applications in which the Council has an interest must be notified to the Scottish Government. The relevant test is where an application is a “significant departure” from the adopted development plan. It will be for the Council to decide whether it is necessary to notify the Scottish Government once an application has been submitted and is ready to be determined. As the principle and general location of the proposed road has already been considered and included within the adopted Midlothian Local Development Plan it is likely that the Council will deem that the proposed road is not a significant departure from the adopted development plan. If that is the decision then the application would be determined by the planning authority. The determination procedure does not change the level of information that will be required to be submitted with the planning application. The application will be supported by an Environmental Impact Assessment which will consider all relevant environmental impacts.

We have over the course 4 months consulted widely with parties within a 50-meter buffer zone of each route option. This was not a mandatory exercise but undertaken as it was felt advantageous to gain the public thoughts and concerns to help inform the project team. Therefore its main purpose was for information gathering purposes. Our engagement with those potentially affected by the scheme will continue throughout the process and once we have more information to share with those parties. Should anyone have any concerns or questions or require clarity relating to land and property matters they are openly welcome to contact either Merle Boyd (07970390588) or Caroline Campbell (07807999373) at any time.

Yes core paths are considered as part of the process and sufficient alternative access for these properties will be made if the existing is impacted.

It depends on the level of impact but mitigation will be considered and implemented if necessary to reduce physical impacts.

It is unlikely your access will be physically impacted and we are not aware at this stage that your existing access will be stopped up.

The technical drawings for each route are available for download on the website at the bottom of the route options page – https://www.a701reliefroad.co.uk/route-options/. You can also download a pdf version of the information boards in the virtual exhibition here: https://www.a701reliefroad.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/A4-Boards.pdf

At the moment the proposals are for the new roundabout to sit on land to the east of the current A702 on agricultural land.

There is not a rule or prescribed distance however the claimant requires to demonstrate their physical losses as part of their claim.

We have over the course of a number of months consulted widely with parties within a 50-meter buffer zone of each route option. This was not a mandatory exercise but undertaken as it was felt advantageous to gain the public thoughts and concerns to help inform the project team. Therefore its main purpose was for information gathering purposes. Our engagement with those potentially affected by the scheme will continue throughout the process and once we have more information to share with those parties. Should anyone have any concerns or questions or require clarity relating to land and property matters they are openly welcome to contact either Merle Boyd (07970390588) or Caroline Campbell (07807999373) at any time.

Wildlife legislation is complex and spread across several different acts. Key pieces of legislation include:

– The Habitats Directive (European Union Council Directive 92/43/EEC) is translated into specific legal obligations by the Habitats Regulations (also known as the Conservation (Natural Habitats) Regulations 1994. The Habitat Regulations 1994 (as amended in Scotland) provide the protection given to European protected species.

– The Birds Directive (European Union Council Directive 2009/147/EC) provides legal protection for all wild bird, their nests, eggs and habitats within the European community

– Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. The Act provides for the further protection of sites of at least national importance for nature conservation and varying levels of protection for species in need of conservation action, or other protection. Protection may include prohibition of some or all of the following: killing, injuring, disturbing, taking, sale/barter or possession of species and also protection of breeding and sheltering places.

– Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004. Places a duty on all public authorities, including local planning authorities, to consider biodiversity in their work

A Construction Environmental Management Plan is going to be produced to be submitted with the planning application. This will detail measures to reduce noise impacts during the construction phase. These can include measures such as the following (although this is not an exhaustive list):

– Working hours restricted to core hours so far as appropriate.
– Careful selection of plant and extraction methods. Only plants conforming to relevant national, European Union or international standards, directives and recommendations on noise and vibration emissions will be used.
– All vehicles and mechanical plants used for the purpose of the work will be fitted with effective exhaust silencers and will be maintained in good and efficient working order and operated to minimize noise emissions
– Noisy activities will be staggered in time and space where practicably feasible
– Design and use of acoustic screening measures where practicable and necessary
– All compressors and generators will be “sound reduced” models fitted with properly lined and sealed acoustic covers which will be kept closed whenever the machines are in use
– Static processing plant and equipment liable to create noise and/or vibration whilst in operation will, as far as reasonably practicable, be located away from sensitive receptors and away from walls that could reflect noise towards sensitive receptors
– Vehicles will not wait or queue on the public highway with engines idling and only designated access routes will be used.

The STAG Part 2 process takes a number of factors into consideration for selecting the preferred route alignment. Once all elements (including environmental factors, cost, journey times etc) have been assessed, a preferred route will be selected.

The only loss of green belt land will be limited to the footprint of the required roads infrastructure and junctions. Beyond that, the extent of the existing green belt designation (identified on the adopted MLDP Proposals Map) and provisions of Policy ENV1 will remain in place. The principle for the roads infrastructure was established through the development plan process. In the report of examination, the Reporter supported the inclusion of the road infrastructure as a necessary part of development strategy in the A701 corridor but acknowledged the loss of some green belt, prime agricultural land, and countryside as a consequence. The Reporter also acknowledged that the project design process allowed the opportunity to mitigate, as much as possible any adverse impacts of the new roads (and junctions) on the immediate and wider environment.

The environmental assessment of the options has taken into account potential impacts to Cameron Wood and associated protected species such as bats. Bat surveys have also been undertaken within the area covering the options. If either option D, E or F is selected, mitigation measures will be implemented to reduce any potential impact to bats. These measures will be detailed within the EIA.

The presentations delivered established a high-level baseline of the current environmental constraints. Landfills are included under the Environmental Impact Assessment Scoping Report chapter ‘Ground Conditions and Mining’ where the full range of constraints can be found. The scoping report is currently available on the Midlothian planning portal website for reference (search ref 21/00516/SCO).

Of note, analysis of available historical mine plans and geological memoirs indicate the presence of recorded historical Oil Shale workings within both the Pentland Oil Shale and Broxburn Oil Shale within the east of the scheme area. In addition, The Coal Authority interactive map viewer identifies three Development High-Risk Areas that are present in the study Area. Development High-Risk Areas are defined by The Coal Authority as “the part of the coal mining reporting area which contains one or more recorded coal mining-related features which have the potential for instability or a degree of risk to the surface from the legacy of coal mining operations”.

Yes- all relevant documentation relating to ecology will be uploaded to the Midlothian Planning Portal when the planning application is submitted. Currently, the Environmental Impact Assessment Scoping Report can be viewed on the planning portal (search ref 21/00516/SCO) – where baseline ecology data and maps can be viewed.

A Phase 1 Habitat survey was undertaken in March 2021. The findings of this were reported in the Environmental Impact Assessment Scoping Report (which can be viewed on the planning portal (search ref 21/00516/SCO)). Further protected species survey will be undertaken throughout 2022, the findings of which will be reported in the Environmental Impact Assessment.

The environmental team will work closely with the designers to assess the potential for noise impacts and recommend appropriate mitigation measures. Specific mitigation measures are yet to be determined.

A Phase 1 Ecology survey was carried out in March 2021. This identified key habitats within the area surrounding the proposed link road. Following on from the recommendations from this, a full badger survey will be undertaken when a preferred route is selected. This survey will be undertaken in 2022.

Level 1 Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) will be produced and submitted with the planning application. The FRA will be prepared in accordance with the guidance set out in the Scottish Planning Policy.

The environmental team will work with the designers to assess the potential for noise and other pollution impacts and recommend appropriate mitigation in the Environmental Statement. The results will be published, consulted upon, and considered in the decision made by the local planning authority.

A Construction Environmental Management Plan is going to be produced to be submitted with the planning application. This will detail measures to reduce noise impacts during the construction phase. These can include measures such as the following:

– Working hours restricted to core hours so far as appropriate.
– Careful selection of plant and extraction methods. Only plants conforming to relevant national, European Union or international standards, directives and recommendations on noise and vibration emissions will be used.
– All vehicles and mechanical plants used for the purpose of the work will be fitted with effective exhaust silencers and will be maintained in good and efficient working order and operated to minimize noise emissions
– Noisy activities will be staggered in time and space where practicably feasible
– Design and use of acoustic screening measures where practicable and necessary
– All compressors and generators will be “sound reduced” models fitted with properly lined and sealed acoustic covers which will be kept closed whenever the machines are in use
– Static processing plant and equipment liable to create noise and/or vibration whilst in operation will, as far as reasonably practicable, be located away from sensitive receptors and away from walls that could reflect noise towards sensitive receptors
– Vehicles will not wait or queue on the public highway with engines idling and only designated access routes will be used.

A Phase 1 Ecology survey was carried out in March 2021. This identified key habitats within the area surrounding the proposed link road. Following on from the recommendations from this, a full badger survey will be undertaken when the preferred route is selected (early 2022).

The STAG Part 2 appraisal takes into consideration potential impacts to local businesses and housing which are likely to be affected. Once the preferred route is selected, a detailed assessment of the impacts, and associated mitigation, will be developed for the planning submission.

The presentations delivered established a high-level baseline of the current environmental constraints. Landfills are included under the Environmental Impact Assessment Scoping Report chapter ‘Ground Conditions and Mining’ where the full range of constraints can be found. The scoping report is currently available on the Midlothian planning portal website (search ref 21/00516/SCO).

Of note, analysis of available historical mine plans and geological memoirs indicate the presence of recorded historical Oil Shale workings within both the Pentland Oil Shale and Broxburn Oil Shale within the east of the scheme area. In addition, The Coal Authority interactive map viewer identifies three Development High-Risk Areas that are present in the Study Area. Development High-Risk Areas are defined by The Coal Authority as “the part of the coal mining reporting area which contains one or more recorded coal mining-related features which have the potential for instability or a degree of risk to the surface from the legacy of coal mining operations”.

The Environmental Statement will consider the potential for adverse and beneficial effects on pedestrians, cyclists, and equestrians, which may arise from changes in journey lengths and local travel patterns. This will include consideration of how users of existing routes are likely to be affected by severance and changes in traffic distribution and flow, as well as users of footpaths during construction and operation. Specific consideration will be given for the potential for the new infrastructure to sever connections between communities and community facilities, such as schools and hospitals, and how this might be mitigated.

In addition to this, an assessment of human health will be undertaken qualitatively, with the impacts and effects of the scheme identified for the specific groups likely to be affected. This assessment will also consider social cohesion and neighbourhoods.

A Walking, Cycling, and Horse Riding assessment is being carried out for the scheme. A recent public consultation held as part of this review can be viewed here: https://www.a701reliefroad.co.uk/wchar-consultation-webinar/

Noted- during the Environmental Impact Assessment process, there will also be another public consultation event, as well as meetings with various stakeholders to ensure the community’s concerns are taken into consideration.

The Ecological Assessment will cover :
• Evaluation of ecological features at a geographical scale;
• Assessment of potential effects on designated sites;
• Assessment of potential effects on habitats and species;
• Avoidance, mitigation, and enhancement measures to address identified effects;
• Assessment of cumulative impacts; and
• Description and evaluation of any residual effects of the scheme.

The assessment of significant impacts will be determined by identifying the presence of ecological features; evaluating their importance, or value, and defining the magnitude of the effects. In order to objectively assess effects arising from the project, it is essential to establish the sensitivity of each ecological feature. The sensitivity will be evaluated within a geographical context.

A Phase 1 ecology survey has been undertaken to establish the habitat types within the area the road is to be situated. The report did not identify any wetlands within this study area but did establish areas of marsh which appeared to be wet for much of the year. The Ecological Assessment undertaken for the Environmental Impact Assessment will detail any habitat loss and compensation for loss when the preferred route is selected.

The provision of street lighting on the A701 Relief Road & A702 Link Road has yet to be determined. Once the preferred route has been identified, the requirement for street lighting will be subject to further study before confirming the final design. This will include the relief road, junctions, and any walking and cycling facilities provided. The final decision on street lighting will involve consideration of the environmental impacts. In particular, the potential effect lighting can have on protected species such as bats will be assessed.

The Soils EIA chapter will consider the potential issues arising from the project in relation to potential effects on the soil as a resource and agricultural land. This will include details of any agricultural land to be lost to the scheme. Whilst permanent loss cannot be mitigated, the temporary loss of agricultural land and the impact of this loss can be reduced through appropriate mitigation. With mitigation measures, the permanent loss of agricultural land during the construction phase should be restricted to areas of permanent development.

The Ecological Assessment will cover :
• Evaluation of ecological features at a geographical scale;
• Assessment of potential effects on designated sites;
• Assessment of potential effects on habitats and species;
• Avoidance, mitigation, and enhancement measures to address identified effects;
• Assessment of cumulative impacts; and
• Description and evaluation of any residual effects of the scheme.

The assessment of significant impacts will be determined by identifying the presence of ecological features; evaluating their importance, or value, and defining the magnitude of the effects. In order to objectively assess effects arising from the project, it is essential to establish the sensitivity of each ecological feature. The sensitivity will be evaluated within a geographical context.

The provision of street lighting on the A701 Relief Road & A702 Link Road has yet to be determined. Once the preferred route has been identified, the requirement for street lighting will be subject to further study before confirming the final design. This will include the relief road, junctions, and any walking and cycling facilities provided. The final decision on street lighting will involve consideration of the environmental impacts. In particular, the potential effect lighting can have on protected species such as bats will be assessed.

Yes- there may be cumulative interrelationships between the noise and vibration assessment and the ecology assessment, which will be considered in the EIA process. The EIA will detail the mitigation to reduce the effects of excess noise generated by the scheme during construction and operation. These can include low noise surfacing and the use of noise barriers.

Ornithological surveys are recommended once the preferred route is selected. This will identify the presence of Barn Owl. The Ecological assessment will identify mitigation and enhancement measures to address any potential impacts

The Design of the road is still ongoing. Once the preferred route is selected, a detailed design will commence and identify if the road will be fenced.

The need for invertebrate surveys will be determined once the preferred route is selected. The design will be informed by an ecological assessment, an objective of which will be to minimize impacts to habitats that may be suitable for invertebrates such as butterflies. The Construction Environmental Management Plan will include measures to minimize the impacts of vegetation during the construction phase.

The approach to the Health Assessment will be based on guidance set out in DMRB LA 112 and will also consider a primer (Health in Environmental Impact Assessment -A Primer for a Proportionate Approach) developed and issued by the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA). There is potential for general disruption during the construction phase to affect community wellbeing.

Throughout the EIA process, a consultation will be undertaken with the local community to identify potentially vulnerable groups.

Mental health is a key consideration of the human health assessments that will be undertaken once a preferred route option has been selected. The approach to the Health Assessment will be based on guidance set out in DMRB LA 112 and will also consider a primer (Health in Environmental Impact Assessment -A Primer for a Proportionate Approach) developed and issued by the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA). A number of factors are taken into account when selecting the preferred option, including acknowledgment of the potential impact of a new road to mental health. These impacts are deemed to be similar for all options presented.

Until the preferred route is selected, which will identify which landfill sites the route will cross, this information is not available. Additional topographical surveys and ground investigations are due to be completed once the preferred route is selected.

There will be due consideration for all protected species encountered during additional surveys. Once the preferred route is selected, and a full range of data is available, environmental specialists will work closely with the designers to implement a range of mitigation measures to reduce the potential effects. Not all environmental effects can be mitigated but, where it is not possible to mitigate an effect, the effect will be described as a ‘residual effect’ in the Environmental Statement and taken into account in the wider context of the decision made by the local planning authority.

The Environmental Scoping Report is available on the Midlothian Planning Portal, where it can be viewed (search ref 21/00516/SCO).

Mental health is a key consideration of the human health assessments that will be undertaken once a preferred route option has been selected.
The approach to the Health Assessment will be based on guidance set out in DMRB LA 112 and will also consider a primer (Health in Environmental Impact Assessment -A Primer for a Proportionate Approach) developed and issued by the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA).

The objectives of the A701 Relief Road are to:
1. Relieve congestion and Support economic and employment growth in the local area, including Enabling the delivery of the A701 corridor Strategic Development Area; and
2. Help facilitate safe and reliable sustainable transport and access for A701 corridor communities.

The EIA Regulations (Scotland) 2017 have introduced the requirement to consider climate as part of the EIA process, and require consideration of “the impact of the project on climate” and “the vulnerability of the project to climate change” (Schedule 4, paragraph 5(f)).

The potential environmental impact of the scheme is the release of greenhouse gas emissions into the environment as a result of construction and operational activities. It will be important to look at what measures can be implemented through the design and EIA process to reduce the release of greenhouse gas emissions.

The climate change assessment will identify and assess the likely significant effects of the scheme on climate change mitigation (i.e. greenhouse gas/carbon emissions), and how to minimize these. The assessment also considers how the scheme adapts to a changing climate, how other EIA topics/receptors could be affected, and how resilience can be designed into this.

Yes- The EIA Regulations (Scotland) 2017 have introduced the requirement to consider climate as part of the EIA process, and require consideration of “the impact of the project on climate” and “the vulnerability of the project to climate change” (Schedule 4, paragraph 5(f)).

The EIA Regulations (Scotland) 2017 have introduced the requirement to consider climate as part of the EIA process, and require consideration of “the impact of the project on climate” and “the vulnerability of the project to climate change” (Schedule 4, paragraph 5(f)).

The potential environmental impact of the scheme is the release of greenhouse gas emissions into the environment as a result of construction and operational activities. It will be important to look at what measures can be implemented through the design and EIA process to reduce the release of greenhouse gas emissions.

The climate change assessment will identify and assess the likely significant effects of the scheme on climate change mitigation (i.e. greenhouse gas/carbon emissions), and how to minimize these. The assessment also considers how the scheme adapts to a changing climate, how other EIA topics/receptors could be affected, and how resilience can be designed into this.

Yes- the EIA Regulations (Scotland) 2017 have introduced the requirement to consider climate as part of the EIA process, and require consideration of “the impact of the project on climate” and “the vulnerability of the project to climate change” (Schedule 4, paragraph 5(f)).

The climate change assessment will identify and assess the likely significant effects of the scheme on climate change mitigation (i.e. greenhouse gas/carbon emissions), and how to minimize these. The assessment also considers how the scheme adapts to a changing climate, how other EIA topics/receptors could be affected, and how resilience can be designed into this.

The forecast overall change in flow through the junction is small, however, there is a change in distribution in traffic between each approach arm. The junction’s design will be reviewed in detail in the detailed design stage.

Route options to the west of Cameron Wood were considered during the preparation of the Midlothian Local Development Plan (MLDP). At that time the A701 Relief Road & A702 Link Road were assumed to be a dual-carriageway with a bridge over Old Pentland Road. The large embankments required for this resulted in significant impacts to the landscape and surrounding community, so these route options were not included in the MLDP. Based on the latest information, the A701 Relief Road & A702 Link Road is now single-carriageway road with an at-grade junction at Old Pentland Road. This has resulted in a significant reduction in impacts compared to the previous studies.

Route options to the west of Cameron Wood were assessed during the STAG Part 1 Appraisal. This initial assessment suggested these route options had the potential to achieve the project objectives within the allocated budget, with the advantages and disadvantages requiring further study during the STAG Part 2 stage. The STAG Part 2 Appraisal is currently underway and will consider 6no. route options (including 2no. to the west of Cameron Wood) against a wide range of criteria to identify the preferred route option.

A new junction will be provided where the new A701 Relief Road & A702 Link Road intersects Old Pentland Road. The proposed location of this new junction differs between the options to the west of Cameron Wood and those to the east.

This location currently includes a sharp bend on Old Pentland Road opposite The Secret Herb Garden, with limited visibility at the junction with Burnside Road. Records show a history of accidents at this location due to the road alignment. Improvements at this location would need to be considered to ensure safe sight distance is provided for traffic approaching the new junction.

The layout of this junction is currently shown as a staggered priority junction for all the STAG Part 2 route options. In order to develop the route options in the STAG Part 2 Appraisal, a preliminary study was undertaken for this junction to inform the assumed layout. This study considered a range of options, including the stopping up of Old Pentland Road, providing an at-grade crossroads, providing an at-grade staggered junction, and bridging the A701 Relief Road & A702 Link Road over Old Pentland Road with no access from Old Pentland Road. This study confirmed a bridge would increase the costs and environmental impact for only minor benefits, therefore an at-grade layout was preferred. A cross-road layout was ruled out due to safety concerns of vehicles on Old Pentland Road crossing the high-speed traffic on the A701 Relief Road. The preferred layout to address this risk is a staggered arrangement, with Old Pentland Road traffic traversing a single direction of traffic when traveling East-West.

However, once the preferred route has been identified, each junction will be subject to further study before confirming the final layout. This will include consideration of the latest predicted traffic volumes and vehicle types, including farm vehicles and heavy goods vehicles. This may also include a change in the posted speed limit on Old Pentland Road and improvements to walking and cycling facilities.

An upgraded junction will be provided where Bush Loan Road intersects the existing A702. The proposed location of this new junction differs depending on which route option is being considered.

This location currently includes a number of sharp bends on both the A702 and Bush Loan Road, which will be removed to ensure safe sight distance is provided for traffic approaching the new junction. Some realignment of existing accesses/driveways may be required and will be confirmed at the next stage.

The layout of this junction is currently shown as a roundabout for all the STAG Part 2 route options. However, once the preferred route has been identified, each junction will be subject to further study before confirming the final layout. This will include consideration of the latest predicted traffic volumes and vehicle types, including farm vehicles and heavy goods vehicles. This may also include a change in the posted speed limit on Bush Loan Road and improvements to walking and cycling facilities.

Traffic surveys indicate that the current turning traffic flows through the junction are close to or at capacity during the peak periods, which results in traffic delays and queuing. The northbound right turn movement into Bush Loan forms a queue in the centre of the road and this creates an accident risk as the sightlines along the A702 are poor due to the topography and there is insufficient space to provide a centre turning lane.

The current Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance for scheme appraisal was developed by Transport Scotland. The economic appraisal of the scheme is based on well-established transport modeling techniques that base route selection on minimizing trip costs in order to assess the total economic time-saving benefits for all trips with the scheme relative to the Reference Case scenario.

The A701 Relief Road and A702 Link Road scheme options have been designed to provide relief to existing traffic congestion along A701, separating local traffic movements from through movements. The model forecasts that along with the A701 Relief Road journey times will reduce and journey time reliability improve compared with the existing A701 corridor. Local journeys along the A701 corridor will benefit from the removal of through traffic. The proposed increase in residential developments and growth in development set out within the Midlothian Local Development Plan has been taken into consideration within the traffic model forecasts

The A701 Relief Road and A702 Link Road scheme options have been designed to increase route choice and provide relief to existing traffic congestion along A701, separating local traffic movements from through movements. The model forecasts that the A701 Relief Road will reduce journey times and improve journey time reliability compared with the existing A701 corridor. Local journeys along the A701 corridor will benefit by the removal of through traffic. The proposed increase in residential developments and growth in development by 2037 set out within the Midlothian Local Development Plan has been taken into consideration within the traffic model forecasts.
The proposed signalised junction with A701 and the A720 City Bypass will include pedestrian crossing and cycle facilities as well as bus lanes on the junction approaches, and the linked traffic signal plans will be optimised to reduce delays. The proposed scheme options increases route choice and permits traffic to access and egress A720 via the optimum junction, which give rise to a small reducton in flows along City Bypass A720 between Hillend and Straiton. The capacity of the design of the junction is higher than the forecast demand and will be reviewed during the detailed design stage.
Transport Scotland is responsible for the management of the strategic trunk road network, which includes A720 City Bypass.

6no. route options have been developed and are currently being subjected to a STAG Part 2 Appraisal. This appraisal will assess each route option against a range of criteria, including:

Whether the option meets the project objectives;
What impact the option will have on the environment;
What impact the option will have on safety (including vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists);
Will the option provide value for money;
Will the option integrate into the existing network;
What impact the option will have on accessibility and social inclusion;
What will the option cost to build, operate and maintain; and
What feedback is gathered from the public consultation event.

The STAG Part 2 Appraisal will consider all of the above criteria and identify the preferred option.

The A701 Relief Road and A702 Link Road scheme options have been designed to increase route choice and provide relief to existing traffic congestion along A701, seperating local traffic movements from through movements. The model forecasts that the A701 Relief Road will reduce journey times and improve journey time reliability compared with the existing A701 corridor. Local journeys along the A701 corridor will benefit by the removal of through traffic. The proposed increase in residential developments and growth in development by 2037 set out within the Midlothian Local Development Plan has been taken into consideration within the traffic model forecasts.
The proposed scheme options increases route choice and permits traffic to access and egress A720 via the optimum junction, and this gives rise to a small reducton in flows along City Bypass A720 between Hillend and Straiton. The design of the junction will be reviewed during the detailed design stage.
Transport Scotland is responsible for the management of the strategic trunk road network, which includes A720 City Bypass.

The A701 Relief Road and A702 Link Road scheme options have been designed to increase route choice and provide relief to existing traffic congestion along A701, seperating local traffic movements from through movements. The model forecasts that the A701 Relief Road will reduce journey times and improve journey time reliability compared with the existing A701 corridor. Local journeys along the A701 corridor will benefit by the removal of through traffic. The proposed increase in residential developments and growth in development by 2037 set out within the Midlothian Local Development Plan has been taken into consideration within the traffic model forecasts.
The proposed scheme options increases route choice and permits traffic to access and egress A720 via the optimum junction, and this gives rise to a small reducton in flows along City Bypass A720 between Hillend and Straiton. The design of the junction will be reviewed during the detailed design stage.
Transport Scotland is responsible for the management of the strategic trunk road network, which includes A720 City Bypass.

The signal plan at the junction will be reviewed and optimised. It is not proposed to change the form of the junction control at present.

Provision of street lighting on the A701 Relief Road & A702 Link Road has yet to be determined. Once the preferred route has been identified, the requirement for street lighting will be subject to further study before confirming the final design. This will include the relief road, junctions and any walking and cycling facilities provided. The final decision on street lighting will involve consideration of the environmental impacts. In particular, the potential affect lighting can have on protected species such as bats will be assessed

The A701 Relief Road and A702 Link Road scheme options have been designed to provide relief to existing traffic congestion along A701, separating local traffic movements from through movements. The model forecasts that along with the A701 Relief Road journey times will reduce and journey time reliability improve compared with the existing A701 corridor. Local journeys along the A701 corridor will benefit from the removal of through traffic. The proposed increase in residential developments and growth in development set out within the Midlothian Local Development Plan has been taken into consideration within the traffic model forecasts