YOUR revelation that the Scottish Government has spent nearly £100m in 13 years unsuccessfully trying to stop landslips blocking the A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful ("Another sticking plaster: fury at £100m ‘wasted’ at Rest And Be Thankful site", the Herald, March 6) should trigger a national debate on how we manage roads and the land in Scotland.

The Rest and Be Thankful is a historic and scenic pass that should be one of the tourism highlights of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. Instead it has been gradually ruined by industrial forest plantations, the misconceived routing of the A83 across one the steepest slopes in Scotland, the suburban-style landscaping at the top of the pass, and now all the ugly engineering works that have so far failed to prevent landslips engulfing the road.

A significant contributory factor towards the engineering failure has been the history of overgrazing on the slopes above the A83. In other European countries it is widely accepted that overgrazed slopes in mountain areas help cause avalanches and landslips and public authorities have been taking action to address this for well over 100 years. At the Rest and Be Thankful, however, the problem was not acknowledged until 2012 when a report from Forest Research showed that the grazing by sheep and deer of the south-facing slopes of Beinn Luibhean was contributing to the instability of the slope. That report recommended that woodland restoration/planting would ameliorate the problem.

Despite the creation of the A83 taskforce, chaired by the Scottish Transport Secretary, it was not until March 2017, five years later, that it was agreed a planting “trial” would go ahead. Planting was originally scheduled to start in the spring of 2018 but so far nothing has happened, apparently because the landowner was reluctant to co-operate. While it has been agreed that Forest and Land Scotland should purchase the site, their website shows the Forest Plan is still "out for consultation".

While this history demonstrates a lack of will when is comes to tackling mismanagement of the land, the slopes of Beinn Luibhean are so steep that reforestation is likely only to reduce the number of landslips, not prevent them entirely. In similar situations, other countries in Europe would construct a tunnel under the mountain. Scotland once led the world in tunnelling projects, with the tunnel connecting Loch Treig to the Fort William aluminium smelter being the longest in the world. We are now decades behind Norway which has similar rocks, now has more than 1,000 road tunnels and is even constructing tunnels for ships. It is time, therefore, that as well as tackling land misuse, we developed new tunnelling capacity in Scotland. Before anyone says we cannot afford this at the Rest and Be Thankful they should consider the £100 million wasted to date and the £4 billion the Scottish Government has committed to dualling the A9.

Nick Kempe, Glasgow G41.