Partners review traffic management plans for Belladrum and the Black Isle Show - “Arrive early!” is the advice for those attending
Multi-agency partners are seeking to ensure that effective traffic management plans are in place to minimise any disruption to the area and promote safe travel to the Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival and the Black Isle Show in August.
The organisers are required to have traffic management plans in place as part of their license. The Council has arranged for a contribution of £1,000 from the Inverness Common Good Fund and £1,000 from its Development and Infrastructure Service to enable traffic modelling which will inform the traffic management plans and help to reduce the risk of disruption in the city on Thursday 4 August.
Both events are expected to attract up to 50,000 people (Up to 29,000 attending Black Isle Show and up to 21,000 attending Belladrum).
One single Traffic Sub Group was set up and the organisers have worked together, and with the Members of the Traffic Sub Group, to produce plans which have been discussed, considered and scrutinised by the group whose membership include Police Scotland, Highland Council's Community Services (Roads) and Licensing, BEAR Scotland, Inverness City Manager and the Traffic Management Companies.
Inverness City Manager for Highland Council, David Haas said: “I am assured that appropriate measures have been taken to avoid a reoccurrence of the disruption experienced in and around the city last August. The organisers and all agencies involved have been working with Police and the Council on an integrated traffic management plan, with the assistance of an Event Traffic Consultant.
“Traffic delays will not be eliminated however and the public will need to head the advice given and further messages to follow.”
Belladrum organisers are keen for festival goers to arrive earlier to reduce the traffic congestion. The car park opening times for Belladrum festival have been moved from 13:00 to 08:00 and the arena will open earlier at 12:00 noon instead of 16:00. Enhanced bus services will be in use and additional road signage.
Joe Gibbs, Belladrum and Rod MacKenzie, Black Isle Show have briefed Elected Members on the modifications they have made to their Traffic Management Plans and the joint arrangements they have made to reduce traffic impact on the rural roads around both venues.
Joe Gibbs said: “Since the 2015 event, Belladrum Festival has worked extensively with the Black Isle Show, Police Scotland and Highland Council to produce a joined-up traffic plan for 2016 which includes a range of measures designed to reduce the Thursday queues into the event in 2016.
“Together with Black Isle Show and the Council, Belladrum has financed traffic modelling by consultants SIAS to identify why problems arose last year and improve ingress to the 2016 event.”
As a result of the study, around 20 new measures have been adopted by Belladrum. These include:
- building additional entrances into car parks off public roads and improving internal car park entrances and exits;
- opening gates five hours early at 0800 and arenas four hours early at 1200 on the Thursday;
- a thorough review of internal and external road signage and staff briefing;
- a rearrangement of internal traffic flows; a bus service between Black Isle Show and Bella;
- a temporary traffic order for a one way system along the B9164 Dunballoch/ Achnagairn Road encouraging eastbound traffic from Beauly bound for Inverness to bypass the junction to Belladrum off the A862; and
- no day ticket sales for the Thursday, a change from 2015 when just under 1000 were sold.
Joe Gibb continued: “Bella will be running a campaign to urge patrons attending the event on the Thursday to avoid the late afternoon/ early evening which are the busiest times on the roads and arrive morning through to mid afternoon before 1500 or late evening after 2000, if possible. Also, to use public bus services to the event, including one for patrons arriving early and wanting to visit the Black Isle Show from Bella.
“Details of bus routes and times will appear on www.tartanheartfestival.co.uk nearer the event. Patrons can also help by sharing vehicles and not leaving the event once they have arrived. A real-time information service on social media and the web site on traffic flows into the event will also run.”
Rod MacKenzie, Black Isle Show added: “We are glad that this year the Highland Council and Police Scotland have encouraged a co - joined approach to the issue of traffic. It is encouraging to know that Belladrum have adopted similar traffic ingress measures as Black Isle Show have developed in recent years. These multi - ingress improvement measures have been achieved in consultation and with the co-operation of Police, Highland Council and other agencies with the result that in 2015 there were no ingress delays to Black Isle Show.”
Road Policing Inspector Gus Stewart said: "We will be working closely with the organisers of Belladrum and the Black Isle show to support them with their traffic management plans. The roads will be busier than usual and we are urging motorists to plan ahead and allow extra time for your journey. The event organisers will be publicising traffic information on social media ahead of the events and it is best to check these sites for updates before setting off on your journey."