News In Focus
Judge to lead Edinburgh trams inquiry
A judge will be appointed to lead a public inquiry into the costs and delays that hit the Edinburgh tram project, First Minister Alex Salmond announced yesterday.
At questions in the Holyrood Parliament, Mr Salmond said the Cabinet had agreed that the inquiry would be a non-statutory one, because of the time taken to conduct inquiries under the Inquiries Act 2005, and because ministers have been assured by the City of Edinburgh Council of its full co-operation and full documentation of all aspects of the project. "That gives us the opportunity to have a judge-led inquiry that will give us a proper examination and a public account of what has happened to the trams project", Mr Salmond said.
A similar type of inquiry was held into the costs surrounding the building of the Scottish Parliament.
Trams began to run in Edinburgh on 31 May, nearly three years later than originaly planned, on a curtailed 8.5 mile route that cost a total of £776m to build.
Solicitor Daniel Donaldson, who a week ago launched a petition for a public inquiry, said: "The acid test of the inquiry will be its scope, which is yet to be announced."
Revealing that 680 people had signed his petition from an original target of 10,000, he added: "The terms must allow a full forensic analysis of where the money was spent, whether the business case was actually viable, the qualifications or lack of experience of those put in charge, the contracts written, the forward planning that took place, the politics behind the project amongst many other important issues."
Mr Donaldson said he would seek a meeting with the First Minister to discuss the terms of reference "to ensure that the views of petitioners are heard".