Edinburgh trams inquiry public hearings to start in September

26 January 2017, 15:51

Edinburgh Tram

The inquiry into the Edinburgh trams project will begin public hearings in September.


The sessions for gathering oral evidence will take place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays of each week from September 5 onwards, it has been announced.

The process is expected to span ``several months''.

Lord Hardie is leading the inquiry into the scheme, which went significantly over budget and was delivered years later than originally planned.

The probe was set up in 2014 by the then first minister Alex Salmond.

Evidence will be given by a number of witnesses who will be cited to appear.

It will supplement written statements from witnesses and the millions of documents already recovered during the course of investigations by the inquiry team.

The inquiry's core participants may be allowed limited cross-examination of the speakers.

Lord Hardie said the announcement marks a milestone in the inquiry's progress.

``The oral hearings form an essential part of the important work of the inquiry and the evidence heard will play a crucial role in informing my final recommendations,'' he said.

``In advance of these hearings, a significant amount of activity has already taken place including identifying, retrieving and reviewing more than six million documents and the ongoing gathering of statements from a significant number of witnesses.''

Lord Hardie has vowed to provide ``robust recommendations'' to ensure future infrastructure projects avoid the problems experienced by the scheme.

The trams began operating at the end of May 2014 after six years of disruption and a long-running dispute between Edinburgh City Council and contractors.

The eventual cost of #776 million was more than double the sum earmarked for the project by the previous Labour-led administration.

Figures out at the end of last year showed the city's tram network is running at an average of 25% capacity.

The hearings will take place at the inquiry's offices in Waterloo Place in the city.