Below is a MoD briefing on access to the Pentland Hills via the military access road just off Dreghorn Link.
Thank you for your e-mail and request for an update on activity at the entrance to the MOD training area just off the City By-Pass.
By way of back ground there have been a number of major projects independently planned in the same area:
- A new build on the south side of Dreghorn Barracks Apr 17-Mar 18
- Scottish Water pipe line project cutting across the northern part of the MOD training area at Dreghorn parallel to the City by-Pass (affecting Swanston and Bonaly) Apr 18-Mar 20
- Scottish Power replacing cables on the pylon lines traversing the northern part of the MOD training area at Dreghorn parallel to the City by-Pass (affecting Swanston and Bonaly) – starting Mar 20
All three projects required vehicle and equipment access to their respective sites via the slip road off the City By-Pass through the Dreghorn Training Area height restriction barrier. In order to manage the area safely, the traffic control measures through this one access point needed to be deconflicted with military users of the estate and members of the public accessing the area under the Scottish Outdoor Access Code (SOAC). Therefore, for primarily safety reasons and duty of care I stopped public vehicle access under the barrier to the training area access road by lowering the barrier to 1m, keeping it to site traffic only. It has not affected pedestrian passage for those wishing to access the Pentland Hills.
At one stage all three projects were going to happen concurrently. However Scottish Water deferred their start date until after the Dreghorn Barracks build and Scottish Power delayed until the start of this year. Scottish Water have finished their main project on MOD land but they still have some residual works involving tree felling and planting. I am hopeful this will be concluded soon but it will lead straight in to the Scottish Power project which will start shortly and is planned to go on until Aug/Sep 20. They too require access via the barrier, working on the pylon towers and positioning equipment near the entrance. We have just started the liaison and planning process this month and will know more once a programme of works is issued.
It is unfortunate that both Scottish Water/Power projects were delayed and ran on consecutively, stretching out the time and disruption to all concerned. Despite this, I am convinced the decision to restrict public vehicle access was correct as it was in the interests of public safety. As ever I will continue to consult with all stakeholders, namely the Forestry and Natural Heritage Service and Friends of the Pentlands, keeping them informed at all stages.