Ministers have been warned that urgent investment is needed on Scotland's roads - after a new wave of landslips continued to bring parts of the transport network to a standstill.

One world renowned expert on landslides has said that there are more landslips to come in Scotland because of climate change and that managing the risks comes with "significant cost".

Argyll and Bute Council's policy lead for roads and transport Andrew Kain has said the the local authority did not have sufficient funding to deal with the risks to roads and said more money was needed to overcome past "neglect".

It comes as it emerged that one key Argyll route is to be closed for at least four weeks after a landslip that saw 6000 tonnes of debris fall on it. The risks on the A816, a lifeline link that joins the A83 and Lochgilphead to Oban had not previously been known.

This has raised concerns that other roads around Scotland may also be at risk.

READ MORE: A816: 'Bus-sized rocks' warning as 6000 tonne landslide blocks road

Meanwhile the A83, Scotland's most notorious road which was still out of action on Wednesday morning after it was confirmed that at least double the amount of debris had fallen on it from Saturday's landslips than the 2020 accident that sparked urgent calls for action. The road reopened at 3pm on Wednesday.

Road maintenance contract BEAR Scotland's analysis of the amount of debris that has fallen onto the A83 rose from 2,000 tonnes on Sunday to at least 12,000 tonnes across seven landslips in a four-mile stretch including the Rest and be Thankful.

Fears over the road hit fresh heights on August 4, 2020, when some 6,000 tonnes of debris cascaded onto the A83 at the Rest and be Thankful, at least 3,500 tonnes less than the latest episode.

Campaigners have said they have been warned by Transport Scotland officials that there was 100,000 tonnes of unstable material on the hillside above the A83 at the Rest and be Thankful just before the latest landslides which they say shows more needed to be done to ensure the safety of those using the road.

While concerns about the A83 were first highlighted in the Scottish Road Network Landslides Study part authored by the then Scottish Executive - 18 years ago, there was no such warning about the dangers at the A816 at the Bealach between Ardfern and Lochgilphead.

While millions have been spent on catchpits and barriers to try and protect the A83 as a temporary solution - there is no such protection at the hilled area of the A816 - with just a small wire fence divides the landscape from the road in parts.

The Herald:

The landslides came after large swathes of Scotland saw about a month's worth of rain on Saturday.

It brought severe flooding to parts of Argyll, Angus, Perth, Aberdeenshire, Moray and the Highlands.

University of Hull vice chancellor and renowned landslide researcher Dave Petley warned that this would not be the last of landslips because of climate change. He said high rainfall totals over a small number of hours, as happened at the weekend, usually trigger landslips.

He said it had become increasingly clear in many parts of the world that intense rainfall events were becoming more common and that the amount of precipitation every hour is rising.

He said: "This is a direct result of climate change – warm air is able to hold more water. There are also changes in the dynamics of the atmosphere, meaning that plumes of moisture that bring several hours of rainfall (so called atmospheric rivers) are also more common.

"So, in Scotland we are seeing more of these very intense rainfall events, and hence more landslides. Unfortunately, we have more warming baked into the system, so this will become more common in the coming years. More landslides are inevitable.

"We should expect to see more landslides of this type in the years ahead, occurring in a wider range of places. But landslides are a manageable hazard, with a combination of warning systems, engineering and community engagement. But that comes with a significant cost. We can manage the hazard well, and we should, but we need to accept that it will not come cheaply.

"The soil would be more stable with more trees, so this is a long term approach. We may need to accept that restoring the landscape to its original condition, which will change its appearance is necessary. It will also greatly improve biodiversity.

"So, we should be thinking about tree planting programmes, using indigenous species. But we also need to prepare for more landslides, which means making our infrastructure more resilient - as is planned at Rest and Be Thankful. This is very expensive, but if we want to avoid the disruption and the risk, this is a price we’ll have to pay."

At the A816, specialist engineers have been on site and identified further unstable material on the hillside above, including a number of potentially unsafe boulders, some weighing in excess of 70 tonnes.

The Herald:

One local described the scene as a "massive landslide with thousands of tons of mud and bus sized rocks".

Those living in the area have called for support with the road impassable.

One boat tour company, Venture-West Boat Charters, has come up with a temporary solution – transporting people around the landslide by water.

Mr Kain said no council would be able to afford the level of funding that is needed to protect and improve Scotland's roads and said government has to step in.

"The extent of what is happening with climate change, I don't think anyone is prepared for but I am not sure that the volume of what we have seen in terms of rain in the west coast is any different from other years other than the amount came in a short time.

"It poses challenges for the future, not least financial challenges.

"Whatever happens, engineers will have to look at what has to be done in the short term and the long term.

"The reality is you are talking about vital communications across Argyll and Bute.

"I think with the extent of what you are seeing now, no council has the finances to deal with it. These are strategic communications links and really the money has to come from government.

"The reality is the road networks have been challenged for decades, and we need to start looking strategically at whether we want the communications infrastructure to be able to develop economically in Argyll, or not. That requires funding and is beyond the scope of council.

"The economic activity within Argyll and Bute now and in the future is dependent on good communications. There are only two ways that it impacts Argyll and Bute and that is the road system from the rest of Scotland and seaways and ferries. You don't need me to tell you about the obvious neglect over more than a few years has led to serious disruption in that area as well."

A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “Climate change presents a major risk to Scotland and its infrastructure. We are already seeing variations in current weather patterns and climate projections for the next 30 years indicate that these risks are likely to increase, so adapting our approach is imperative to avoid costly and disruptive consequences for our people, communities, environment and economy.

“Our National Transport Strategy pledges to ‘take climate action’ and its Delivery Plans commit to ensuring that our transport system adapts to the projected climate change impacts.

“The second Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2), published in December 2022, also sets out recommendations to increase safety and resilience on the Trunk Road Network, including specific recommendations for climate change adaptation and resilience.

“Transport Scotland has developed an Approach to Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience (ACCAR), which provides a strategic overview of our approach primarily on infrastructure and services directly under Transport Scotland control – for example, our trunk road maintenance contracts include processes for managing the impacts of unplanned disruption and keeping traffic moving safely. In 2021 we established a Vulnerable Locations Group to oversee the development and delivery of adaptation schemes to improve the resilience of the trunk road network to the impacts of climate change and extreme weather.”