Frequently Asked Questions


  1. What number should I call if I want to report something on the trunk road?
    You can report defects via the report an issue page here or via the Traffic Scotland Customer Care Line 0800 028 1414.


  1. When and where do you pick up litter alongside the trunk roads?
    In the North West, BEAR Scotland teams are responsible for litter-picking at the A87 Skye Bridge from its junction with Main Street, Kyle of Lochalsh, to the roundabout at Kyleakin.
    In the South East, BEAR Scotland teams are responsible for litter-picking only on motorways and dual carriageways, designated as special roads, such as the A720, Edinburgh city by-pass and A1 between Old Craighall to Thistly Cross Rbt.
    On all other dual and single carriageway roads litter collection is the responsibility of the relevant local authority (including the areas where we are responsible for maintenance).
    BEAR’s litter picking tends to be undertaken on a rotating basis weekly with hot spot areas treated twice monthly or as and when required.
    We liaise with local authorities and, where possible, allow them access when traffic management is in place when they plan to collect litter. We also let them know when we are grass cutting so they can litter pick in advance. We also advice when we have traffic management planned for any works so that they can undertake litter-picking in those areas safely.
  2. Why do you undertake grass cutting/landscaping without picking litter first – as this can make the issue worse?
    On the routes we are responsible for litter picking on (as outlined in the answer above) BEAR Scotland will always endeavour to pick litter on the verges prior to cutting the grass. On the other routes where local authorities are responsible for litter picking (as outlined in the answer above), we share our programmes for grass cutting with them with a view giving them the opportunity to pick the litter in advance of grass cutting.
  3. Can I, or my group, pick the litter on trunk road verges and slip roads near where we live?
    By their nature, trunk roads tend to have fast moving traffic. Therefore pedestrians should avoid these areas for Health and Safety reasons and leave it to whoever is responsible – whether that is ourselves or the relevant local authority.
  4. How much litter do you collect in a year?
    A total of 57,970kg of litter equating to 8,032 bags and 3,563 large items were collected from the motorway and dual carriageway verges of the trunk routes we are responsible for litter picking on in the South East during 2022.

Lighting up bridges in colour

  1. Can you light the major bridges a specific colour in support of a charity?
    We often get requests to light up the bridges to mark specific awareness days. Unfortunately there are no facilities to light up the major road bridges in our South East or North West units different colours.


  1. How often do you check that the fences are intact / signs are in place etc and how do you do this?Our inspectors check the trunk road network on a regular basis with most routes being checked either once or twice each week. In addition, footway inspections are carried out in towns and villages monthly.
    We are only responsible for maintaining boundary fences on motorways or special roads.
    We respond to any reports of breaches in fencing – checking and undertaking temporary repairs that will hold until permanent repairs can be undertaken.
    Generally, all other boundary fences, walls and hedges are the responsibility of the adjacent landowner.
    Signs are checked and addressed in the same way and all get an annual inspection.


  1. How is it decided where to locate noise barriers between the motorway and the houses?
    Transport Scotland produces noise maps and conducts other in-depth evaluations. In more recently delivered schemes, noise barriers will be the outcome of the Environmental Assessment to mitigate the noise impact of roads.
    The Transportation Noise Action Plan (TNAP) 2019 – 2023,  provides details of the noise modelling used to assess noise levels across Scotland.
    When an area is identified as a Candidate Noise Management Area (CNMA), Transport Scotland considers cost effective noise management measures.
  2. What restrictions are there for undertaking noisy working at night in residential areas?
    In exceptional circumstances, overnight works in or near residential areas may be unavoidable. Any works at night would be subject to consultation with all affected parties.Noisy working in residential areas is covered by legislation under the Control of Pollution Act 1974, and there are conditions imposed on the way in which work is carried out in order to limit the noise impact on the surrounding premises. These restrictions can vary and are set locally by each Local Authority. It is best to contact them directly for further information.


  1. Why are roadworks on trunk routes often undertaken at night?
    Our contract from Transport Scotland imposes restrictions on when we can work on certain routes, some are restricted to off peak hours and others to overnight hours. To maximise productivity and shorten the duration of schemes it is often better to undertake operations at night with the added benefit that traffic volumes are at their lowest. This is to help to protect our workforce and to try to minimise disruption to the travelling public.
  2. Why is it necessary to close a whole road rather than keep lanes open if available?
    For any scheme, a full road safety assessment is undertaken that considers all aspects carefully including access requirements. Our priority is to protect our workforce whilst undertaking any works and this often can only be done by closing the road altogether, for example when the carriageway is narrow and safe working zones cannot be provided. A road closure often allows the works to be completed minimising the length of disruption to the travelling public.
    The majority of our works are conducted under lane closure.  .
  3. What causes potholes or road defects to form?
    Over time, road pavement naturally deteriorates as the materials that make up the road begin to break down and become affected by elements such as temperature (especially freezing followed by thawing), rain, sunlight and chemicals, such as diesel, that come into contact with the road surface.
    You can find out more about how road defects, including potholes, form and the challenges we face in fixing them, on our website here.
  4. Is it possible to make a claim if damage is sustained to a vehicle as the result of a pothole?
    Here’s a link to the Third Party Claims Process | BEAR Scotland
  5. Why undertake temporary carriageway repairs when they don’t last? Is this not just a waste of time and money?
    Temporary surface repairs, such as filling potholes, are undertaken to address the immediate issue and make the road safe until a permanent repair can be designed and undertaken. Our contract with Transport Scotland specifies that the most significant problems or defects are permanently repaired within 28 days of being identified.
    Temporary repairs are a short-term fix until the permanent repair can be carried out. Fixing potholes in winter is difficult as snow, ice, water and moisture naturally collect in the holes and cracks. We recognise that the nature of a temporary repair means it may fail when the weather gets colder or due to persistent rain. If this occurs, we will revisit and infill.
    You can find out more about how road defects, including potholes, form and the challenges we face in fixing them, on our website here.
  6. How many different layers does it take to create the road surface on the motorway? How deep are the road layers?
    The Road is made up of the following layers:
    Surface Course 25-50mm
    Binder Course 50-100mm
    Base Course 100-300mm
    Sub Base – 100-300mm
    Sub Grade – 150-300mm
    Natural SoilDuring repairs, we mostly replace the Surface, Binder and Base course.
    Busier roads have depths that are deeper to cater for the additional traffic.
  7. Why is it not always BEAR Scotland who is doing the works?
    BEAR Scotland prides itself on carrying out as much of the operations as possible with their own resources, particularly for cyclic maintenance and routine maintenance such as footways, safety barriers, road traffic signs and drainage.
    At times we do appoint contractors who specialise in specific elements of works, such as machine surfacing, road markings and bridge joint replacement as they are best placed to undertake the works quickly and efficiently to minimise disruption to the public. Our contract requires us to advertise all new sub-contracting work opportunities through the Public Contracts Scotland advertising portal.


  1. What is BEAR Scotland’s approach to environmental sustainability?
    Our Environmental Management System, certified to the ISO14001 standard, is aimed at managing environmental impacts across our business.
    We seek to mitigate the impact of works and operations on the environment wherever possible – minimising waste and recycling as much as we can.
  2. How does BEAR Scotland manage the impact of road maintenance works on the environment?There are a number of elements involved. Detailed environmental assessments are carried out prior to projects being undertaken to understand and mitigate any associated environmental impacts and ensure legal compliance.
    Where appropriate we look to adopt sustainable maintenance techniques, use sustainable materials and always look for opportunities to recycle waste materials where practical.
  3. How does BEAR Scotland manage the impact of its general operations on the environment?
    As a matter of course, we segregate all waste as far as possible to facilitate recycling.
    We’ve also adopted innovative practices such as rainwater harvesting systems in depots whereby harvested water is used for vehicle washing and the production of brine for winter road treatment.
  4. How environmentally friendly is BEAR’s fleet?
    We are continuing to enhance our fleet with electric vehicles. As such, many of our depots feature charging points.
    Most of our existing and all of our new HGV fleet is compliant with the Euro 6 emission standards. An app-based fuel management system is being rolled out across BEAR which allows us to manage fuel use and carbon emissions more effectively.
  5. How environmentally friendly is BEAR’s plant equipment?
    We have trialled electric plant alternatives and will continue to seek viable, sustainable options. We already use some electric hand tools for the likes of landscaping. We’ve found that, as well as reduced carbon emissions, localised noise and air pollution are also reduced.
  6. How environmentally friendly is the lighting across the trunk road networks you are responsible for?
    We have replaced older light fittings with new, more sustainable energy-efficient, LED lighting across the trunk road network. We have a continuing programme to upgrade lighting at our depots and offices to accommodate energy efficient LED lighting. 


  1. What does TRISS stand for?
    TRISS stands for Trunk Road Incident Support Service.
  2. What do the TRISS teams do?
    The TRISS role is to detect and respond to incidents and to assist in achieving reliable journey times for the travelling public. TRISS are deployed by Traffic Scotland and work closely alongside the police, ambulance and fire brigade services. Whilst on the network, they are in contact with the control room . You may see a TRISS vehicle positioned on over bridges and prominent areas on key routes ready to respond to any situations that may occur.The TRISS team can also undertake maintenance operations such as clearance of blocked drainage or litter picking.
  3. Are TRISS vehicles on all trunk routes at all times?
    TRISS operates on certain routes as specified by Transport Scotland and operates 12 hours a day. The hours of operation vary from 6am – 6pm and 6.30am – 6.30pm.There are seven TRISS teams in the South East.
    – A1 between Old Craighall and Haddington
    – A720 between Gogar and Old Craighall
    – M8 Junction 1 to Junction 6
    – M90 between M9 J1a and M90 Junction 3 (Halbeath)
    – A9000 between M90 Junction 1 (Scotstoun) and Ferrytoll Junction including Forth Road Bridge (southbound includes the Public Transport Corridor between Echline and the A90 at Scotstoun, and northbound includes the slip road on to the Forth Road bridge from Echline and the slip from the A90 to the B800)
    – A90 between Dalmeny and M90 Junction 1 (Scotstoun)
    – A823(M) Pitreavie Spur
    – A985 between M90 Junction 1C(Admiralty) and A876 Higgins Neuk Roundabout including Kincardine Bridge
    – A977 between Kilbagie Roundabout and A985 Longannet Roundabout
    – A876 / M876 between Kilbagie Roundabout and M9 Junction 7
    – M9 from M8 to M9 Junction 11 (A9 Kier Roundabout)
    – M80 Junction 8 to Junction 9
    – M876 (M80 to M9)The M80 DBFO TRISS team covers junction two to junction eight of the M80 DBFO.The North West has two TRISS teams, one in Inverness and one in Inverary. The North West TRISS routes cover:
    – A9 from Tore, through Inverness, to Daviot
    – A82 from Longman Roundabout to the junction with General Booth Road
    – A82 from Stoneymollan Roundabout to Tarbet (This is a seasonal route running from 1 April to 30 September each year)
  4. What kind of incidents do they attend to?
    Incidents can be as minor as a vehicle breakdown, a puncture, or someone in the winter requiring screen wash. When attending an incident, TRISS can relieve congestion by aiding the affected vehicle and alerting the issue to other traffic while highlighting the stopped vehicle through use of its roof mounted variable message board signs. TRISS can also provide assistance to it moving it to a safe location.TRISS also remove hazards from the carriageway such as debris from traffic lanes and hard shoulders, when safe to do so and a risk assessment has been carried out. They also make temporary repairs to potholes.They also attend more serious incidents such as road traffic collisions, providing support to the emergency services involved.
  5. What is their role when attending an incident?
    The TRISS team’s primary role is to make an incident site safe through the use of temporary traffic management. They assess incident sites and call out additional or specialist resources as required. They provide a communications link between incident sites and the BEAR control room. The TRISS vans also have variable message board signs to display when on the trunk roads, to give motorists advance warning of an incident.
  6. How are they notified that an incident has occurred, and action needs taken?
    As well as patrolling their key routes, TRISS operatives are in contact with the BEAR control rooms by phone and by radio. The control room will notify the TRISS team about incidents and unusual or unexpected activity, disruption and congestion caused by incidents and special events.  Information can be received from and passed to the Police and the Traffic Scotland operator.
  7. What is the process when notified about an incident?
    TRISS Operatives are informed that traffic is slowing down in a specific area. The 24/7 Control room staff monitor traffic via traffic cameras and get in contact with the TRISS Operatives on the network via phone or radio to go and investigate why the traffic movement has changed. Social media can also play a role in notifying the control rooms about incidents on the network.
    The main aim is then to assist drivers at the site of the incident whilst they wait for any emergency services required or their own breakdown organisation to respond. 


  1. What’s your policy on tree management?
    Our broader position on woodland areas and trees is that they offer both visual amenity and a positive impact on the environment and wildlife. As such, it is not Transport Scotland’s (or BEAR’s) policy to remove healthy trees or branches unless we consider that they present a significant safety concern.
    We have provisions in place to monitor the condition of our woodland areas and annually, a qualified arboriculturist carries out visual inspections of all mature trees in order to assess if they are likely to cause any safety issues.  Any trees identified as causing a potential issue are monitored or addressed as required.
  2. Can I cut overhanging branches/encroaching vegetation if it is overhanging my property boundary?
    It is the right of the adjacent landowner to cut-back encroaching branches to their boundary.
  3. What are my rights if trees are blocking sunlight into my garden?
    Under the Right to Light Act 1959, legislation does not guarantee access to uninterrupted light into a garden.

Diversion routes

  1. How are roads selected for use as a diversion route?
    ‘Standard Incident Diversion Route’ means existing roads designated by Transport Scotland as temporary routes for maintaining traffic around sections of the trunk road network temporarily closed due to a special event, roadworks, incident, severe weather event or any other disruption.
    This means that the roads selected for the diversion are capable of handling trunk road traffic, which often involves HGVs, large vehicles or heavy traffic volumes. The routes have been agreed with Police Scotland, Traffic Scotland and local authorities.