Forth Road Bridge Closure Inquiry Calls Repeated

16 December 2015, 06:00

Scottish Labour has repeated its calls for a parliamentary inquiry into the closure of the Forth Road Bridge.

The options for an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the closure will be considered by members of Holyrood's Infrastructure Committee on Wednesday.

Transport minister Derek Mackay announced earlier this month the bridge would be closed until the new year to allow repairs to be carried out on defective steel work.

Labour's deputy leader Alex Rowley said an inquiry into the closure was in the public interest.

He said "key witnesses'' should include former chief engineer Barry Colford and his predecessor, as well as the Auditor General.

He also said it must report before the election next May.

"The first priority must be to reopen the Forth Road Bridge as soon as it's safe to do so,'' Mr Rowley said.

"Thousands of people travelling to their work have been inconvenienced and businesses across the country are out of pocket.

"The people who have been inconvenienced also need to know how we got to this position so that it never happens again.''

He added: "This inquiry must hear from expert witnesses, including those who have previously raised concerns about budget cuts and delayed repair works.

"We need a full parliamentary inquiry to get to the bottom of what went wrong here. The thousands of people and businesses affected by the closure of the Forth Road Bridge deserve full transparency.

"In recent days we have seen increasingly desperate comments from the SNP transport minister Derek Mackay.

"Instead of trying to tell commuters and businesses to stop asking questions about the bridge closure, the SNP government should be open and transparent about their actions.''