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Holyrood committee agrees general principles of new Forth Bridge

The building of a new bridge across the Firth of Forth moved a step closer today when the Scottish Parliament’s Forth Crossing Bill committee recommended the general principles of the legislation behind the project should be agreed to.

In its Stage 1 report the committee called for the general principles of the Forth Crossing Bill to be approved when it is debated by the full parliament.

However, it recommended a strengthening of the rules governing construction practices to minimise disruption to road users and residents in the surrounding areas during the building of the new bridge.

The committee also called for more work to ensure the public transport system was adequate to maximise the benefits of the new crossing, and that adequate checks were in place to monitor costs.

Committee Convenor Jackson Carlaw MSP said: “The committee took evidence from a comprehensive range of organisations and individuals, both in written and oral form, and considered the details carefully before publishing the report.

“The committee was satisfied with the general principles of the bill. However it wants to ensure that, although there will inevitably be disruption for local residents and for road users, there is a measure of protection. A strengthening of the Code of Construction Practice will provide some reassurance and increase protection for those worst affected and Transport Scotland will need to come back to the committee to demonstrate that this has been done.”

The report calls for a greater role to be played by the local authorities in monitoring elements of the construction and for Transport Scotland to consider how this could happen.

Local authorities and business organisations were united in telling the Committee about the disruption to businesses and commuters if a new crossing was not built, with one business organisation describing the new crossing as “absolutely vital to the whole Scottish economy.”

Jackson Carlaw added: “It is also of huge importance that this multimillion pound project remains on track in terms of budget so the committee wants procedures in place to ensure strict monitoring of costs.”

For more information: www.scottish.parliament.uk/s3/bills/33-ForthCrossing/b33s3-introd.pdf