Improved engagement by the Scottish Government with those who have concerns about the building of a new Forth Crossing, and a strengthening of construction rules to minimise disruption, are amongst the measures commended by a committee report published today.
The Forth Crossing Bill Committee’s Stage 2 report also welcomed Transport Scotland’s commitment to addressing local concerns, as the major infrastructure project progresses, including a 24-hour “project helpline” and a new community council forum.
A report by independent assessor Professor Hugh Begg, who was appointed to assist the committee in considering objections to the Bill, was published as part of the committee’s report. Following a series of hearings, Professor Begg recommended that the committee reject the objections, having concluded that those concerned had already secured a wide range of settlements from Transport Scotland. Consequently, amendments to the Bill itself could not reasonably improve upon the changes secured or recommended.
The committee also recommended further protections within the Code of Construction Practise and the need for ongoing engagement with local people by the project team.
Forth Crossing Bill Committee Convener, Jackson Carlaw MSP, said:
“Both the committee and the Scottish Parliament recognise the national significance of the Forth Crossing project to safeguard economic, business and social benefits for Scotland. However, we also realised the disruption the construction would bring to local communities. We commend the objectors for their engagement with the process of primary legislation and for winning significant gains from Scottish Ministers.”
“Although we noted a marked improvement in the Scottish Government’s dialogue with objectors, issues could have been resolved sooner if the government had been willing to share information and make concessions earlier. We are satisfied that the Scottish Government and Transport Scotland have recognised the need to maintain continued dialogue with those affected during construction.”
What happens next?
Stage 2 continues (phase 2) with consideration of amendments by the Committee.
Stage 3 takes place at a meeting of the Parliament with all MSPs able to lodge amendments and vote. Parliament will debate all amendments and vote on whether to pass the Bill.
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