City of Edinburgh councillors approve outline business case to extend tramline

Written by Jenni Davidson on 22 September 2017 in News

A final decision on taking the tram to Newhaven will be made in autumn 2018

Edinburgh tram - Image credit: David Farrer via Flickr

City of Edinburgh councillors yesterday approved the outline business case to extend the Edinburgh tramline to Newhaven.

A comprehensive tendering process will now get under way to appoint a contractor partner for the project.

The business case has been scrutinised by members of all the political groups on the council over recent weeks and was approved by the Transport and Environment Committee earlier this month.

However, councillors will not make a final decision on taking the tram to Newhaven until autumn 2018. 

In the meantime, the project team will assess affordability, monitor a further 12 months of tram usage and await the findings of the Edinburgh Tram Inquiry, which is currently under way, to allow lessons learned to be taken on board.

Transport Convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes said this would involve working with bus companies, the emergency services, residents, businesses and councillors to test and model traffic management plans for the works and attempt to “pre-empt issues which might arise”.

She added that the council was “acutely aware” of how challenging the construction period would be and that a compensation scheme would be made available to help those who would be most affected.

Council leader Adam McVey said: "Given the rate of growth forecast for Edinburgh over the coming years, we simply cannot stand still.

“And yet we can't proceed with work to take trams down to Newhaven unless we're 100 per cent certain we've rigorously scrutinised the business case and taken on board crucial lessons from the first phase.

"Having pored over the outline business case in microscopic detail these past few weeks, including obtaining independent advice on it, I'm confident our project team –  which retains key personnel from the team who got the first phase back on track – is now well placed to move on to the next stage and start the procurement process for a contractor. 

"We will only make our final decision next autumn once the tendering process has completed and once we've consulted an independent assessor on the viability of the proposed construction contracts.

“We'll also of course consider any lessons learned from Lord Hardie's ongoing tram inquiry as we move forward."

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