Saturday 22nd June 2024,
North Edinburgh Community News

Edinburgh tram scheme had ‘litany of avoidable failures’ inquiry finds

Lord Hardie has today, Tuesday 19 September, published the findings and recommendations of the Edinburgh Tram Inquiry.

The four volume report contains criticisms of several organisations whose acts or omissions were principally responsible for the failure to deliver the Edinburgh Trams Project on time, within budget and to the extent projected.

Lord Hardie

In particular Lord Hardie highlights considerable oversight, management and strategic mistakes by tie, the City of Edinburgh Council and Scottish Ministers.

The report also sets out 24 recommendations for the consideration of Scottish Ministers, including the considering whether there is a requirement for new legislation to allow for civil and criminal sanctions against relevant individuals or companies who knowingly submit reports that include false statements to councillors.

Lord Hardie said: “The Inquiry process has been thorough and robust but also complex, with literally millions of documents that had to be carefully reviewed and detailed contractual issues to investigate. This work has been time-consuming but necessary to produce a report which not only provides answers to what went wrong with the Edinburgh Trams Project, but also clear recommendations for future transport projects.

“What is clear from the Inquiry’s work is that there was a litany of avoidable failures on the parts of several parties whose role it was to ensure that public funding was spent effectively and to the benefit of Scotland’s taxpayers, and that the Edinburgh Trams Project was delivered efficiently.

“Poor management and abdication of responsibility on a large scale have had a significant and lasting impact on the lives and livelihoods of Edinburgh residents, and the reputation of the city.”

The project involved the construction of a tram network consisting of at least line 1a (from the Airport to Newhaven) and the purchase of tram vehicles to operate on the network.

From reports submitted to them councillors expected line 1a to be completed within the available budget of £545 million and to be open for revenue service by the summer of 2011. 

The construction of line 1a was delayed and a restricted line from the Airport to York Place opened for revenue service almost 3 years late in May 2014 and at a reported cost of £776.7 million, which was £231.7 million in excess of the available budget for the entire line 1a.

Following the conclusion of the public hearings Lord Hardie reviewed the evidence in light of the closing submissions and the documentary productions and undertook investigations concerning the actual cost of the project.

The reported cost was an understatement because City of Edinburgh Council allocated costs to other budgets that truly related to the project and failed to include the net present value of borrowing £231 million to complete the restricted line.

There was also a substantial claim by a landowner of which there had been no awareness at the date of the reported cost. The best estimate of the cost of the restricted line is £835.7 million.

The report highlights the actions of tie, the City of Edinburgh Council and Scottish Ministers as being principally responsible for the failure to deliver the project on time, within budget and to the extent projected.

You can view the full report by clicking here.

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