QUESTIONS are being raised about official figures on the amount of accidents at a notorious Ross-shire junction by a politician who is “astonished” by the low numbers.
There have been two fatalities and serious injuries previously at Leanaig junction on the A835 road and locals claim minor accidents have been happening on a weekly basis more recently.
Police Scotland confirmed that a 29-year-old man was charged in connection with a two-car collision at the crossroads on Monday, October 30.
He will be reported to the procurator fiscal.
Information gained by the Ross-shire Journal this week indicated that a man and woman injured in the crash were both “severely traumatised” and that it could take up to six weeks for their bones to heal.
The crash prompted local councillor Alister Mackinnon to call for urgent action to make the crossroads safer.
Sheila Maher of Corntown – whose father-in-law and neighbour were killed in accidents at that location – said she and her neighbours had been campaigning since 2008 for safety improvements to the road, to no avail.
She refuses to cycle on that stretch of road now or cross it to get to the bus stop because, she says, it is simply too dangerous. She said many locals avoided using that junction.
“We need to question why nobody is listening to us,” she said.
Local MSP Kate Forbes held a meeting in the summer with Sheila and other residents and she said they were “thoroughly demoralised” by the lack of progress in their campaign for changes to the junction.
Ms Forbes said: “I suggested regular meetings with Transport Scotland, Highland Council and Police Scotland to step up pressure on the junction, with the first meeting to be held in early October.
“Unfortunately, Transport Scotland were unable to attend.
“I went ahead and met the council and police and summarised our discussions in a letter to Transport Scotland.
“I obviously do not have access to Police Scotland records of incidents near the Leanaig junction, however I was very surprised to see so few incidents recorded on Crash Map.
This site states that it uses official data on incidents, as reported to the police, so that it is accurate as possible in locating crashes in a particular area.
“On this site, if you were to search for Leanaig, there are very few incidents recorded.
“While I do not presume this site is conclusive, I was astonished by the low numbers if they are based on police data.
“This made me wonder about the data that is being officially reported about the junction, and I still have a question, which I’m trying to get to the bottom of, as to why there are not more incidents recorded at this junction based on my own understanding of the dangers of the junction.”
Bear Scotland said last week that it had no plans for improvement work at the crossroads.
Transport Scotland has been invited to meet with local councillors this month to discuss the issue.