Thursday, 23 June 2011

Edinburgh Trams decision due next Thursday

Over the next week leading to the decisions to be taken on June 30th, I will welcome comments and your views - and I will be giving you my views on what has gone before and revealing my thoughts on where we should be going now.

But first, the report which was published today with the background and recommendations of council officials for the way forward.  It is 22 pages long with 13 pages of appendices.  Just a word of warning.  Whilst it contains much useful information it is written to argue the case for a particular decision next Thursday.

The report is here.  Comments (and advice) should be on the theme of what is best for Edinburgh!


dcwarden said...

Looking forward to reading your thoughts on this Cameron. I'm sure you will vote in what you believe o be the best interests of the city and hope that your fellow councillors will do the same.

Alan D Rudland said...

Councillor - you are quite correct that the report is written, with the sole purpose of promoting the single option of building the tramline from the Airport to St Andrew Square.

Although purporting to offer two further options (continue with the status quo, or terminate the contract) no real information has been provided for these options, indeed no costs have been included for them. (Although by dint of searching an inferred cost of >£1BN can be calculated for completion of the line to Newhaven, its original destination.)

It is a disgrace that the costs for the other options, and a detailed breakdown of these has not been provided - how can you as a Councillor, let alone ny interested member of the public be expected to form a reasoned understanding of the options in the absence of any detail?

I understand that Councillors will be permitted to queue up at the Headmistress's (oops - Chief Executive's) office at 10:00 on Monday to see the 'confidential appendix' with the missing numbers! What an insult to your integrity - and a blatant contradiction of the 'open and transparent' claptrap spouted at the beginning of the report.

In the absence of any detailed breakdown of the costs for the other two options, and the publication of these to permit full independent (and public) scrutiny there is only one honourable option you can take on Thursday - and that is to move that the item of business be not approved and be carried over to a later date, and considered only when FULL, PUBLIC disclosure of every detail comprising the costs for these options has been made available, and subject to independent scrutiny. At the very least - ask the consortium what their figures are for the three options - then compare these to the figures being foisted on you without explanation.

In the meantime - no further work should be undertaken on the project.


Cameron Rose said...

Alan D Rudland

Thanks for your detailed comments.
Much to say but two brief comments. First, in negotiations with a contractor there is often a poker game under way. It is important to get the best deal! Secondly, it is a wholly reasonable assumption under current circumstances that information in the hands of councillors will be leaked. I say that not because I will contemplate it - but because there is a recent track record of that happening.

MichaelBrogan said...

The report and numbers being thrown about are designed to generate support (sic) for completing half a tram line to St Andrew Sq.

I for one don't have any faith that the proposed additional budget would prove to be the final figure and fully expect if approved this would increase at some point in the future.

It is also very suspicious that the termination figure is so close to the partial completion costs. This figure needs to be properly scrutinised for exaggeration.

The additional disruption to residents, commuters and business in Edinburgh needs to be factored in to any consideration of the options. The fragile nature of the economy coupled with the disruption caused by works has taken its toll.

The final element to consider is the business case and benefits a partial tram line will have. It certainly won't deliver on a number of promised benefits such as rejuvenation of the waterfront and the benefits to emissions and congestion, which were already minimal, will be reduced.

The time has come to draw a line under this debacle and pull the plug on this project.

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