The question of noise is one of the most vexing in the entire scheme. It affects residents and visitors to the site, especially at the Memorial Cairn where the annual commemorative service is held.

It has been brought into sharp focus with the publication of the Draft Infrastructure Investment Plan for 2021/22 – 2025/26. The Scottish Government wishes to build a “wellbeing economy” and gives renewed emphasis to “population and human health including noise and vibration”.

Examination of noise, sources of noise, types of noise and methods of measuring noise took up a disproportionate amount of time at the Inquiry. None of the objectors was satisfied especially as Transport Scotland refuses to incorporate the latest Environmental Noise Guidelines for the European Region that were issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2018. The latest advice recommends a greater reduction in noise levels from road traffic noise than the level which Transport Scotland uses. If the new guidelines were applied, it would result in more onerous noise mitigation being adopted than is the case in the current proposal.

Transport Scotland points out that there is unlikely to be a rapid conclusion as to when, or indeed if, the recommendations for road traffic noise levels contained in the WHO’s 2018 report would be adopted in their current form.

Yet Scottish Ministers acknowledge that they have a responsibility for the protection and improvement of the population’s health. The National Transport Strategy (NTS2) which was published in February 2020 reaffirms this and human health is a key theme of the latest Draft Infrastructure Investment Plan.

The original completion date for all 11 sections of A9 dualling project from Perth to Inverness was 2025. It looked impossible to achieve that at the time of the Inquiry in January 2020. Since the coronavirus epidemic stopped all normal economic activity including construction on the second section of the project, the timetable has slipped.

Economic conditions post-Covid19 will inform all investment decisions. We would like the Scottish Ministers to consider the WHO guidance on noise as a matter of urgency so that the largest transport infrastructure project in the country affords the highest level of health protection to everyone who lives beside the road or visits sites such as the Memorial Cairn on the battlefield for quiet contemplation.

To help protect this internationally important heritage asset, please sign the petition. (See right panel.)