A report detailing how local views on the Forth Replacement Crossing project have helped shape its development is published today.
The Transport Scotland report documents the feedback received following a series of Public Information Exhibitions held for communities both north and south of the Firth of Forth in January earlier this year.
The exhibitions –which were held in 12 locations over 12 days – were attended by over 2,200 people and over 200 responses were received. The "Feedback and Outcomes" Report explains how these have been, or are being, taken into account.
John Howison, Forth Replacement Crossing Project Director, said:
"As we set out in the 'Engaging With Communities' document last year, public engagement lies at the heart of how the project is being developed. The "Feedback and Outcomes" published today report shows how we have put this into practise and continue to do so.
"The Forth Replacement Crossing is vital for the Scottish economy, the biggest infrastructure project in Scotland for a generation. It is simply fundamental to the project’s success that we regularly meet with, inform and seek feedback from affected communities and wider groups to ensure the final project has the right design and impact on people and businesses is kept to the minimum possible.
"For example, feedback from the community in South Queensferry highlighted concerns about the visual impact of the proposed connecting road embankment and a desire to move the junction to another location to reduce traffic levels on Builyeon Road and provide more direct bus access.
"Through this valuable feedback, we have added new dedicated bus links and thereby develop a solution which moves the junction west and involves a substantially lower embankment. This not only brings environmental benefits but also provides shorter journeys for the majority of local traffic."
Since the exhibitions, the scheme design has been further developed to take account of the consultation feedback and some aspects of the feedback. Some areas of work such as the Environmental Statement – including noise and air quality assessments – are still under development so that they can take account of the design changes. However, the feedback is being considered as part of that ongoing work.
John Howison added:
"I would like to repeat my thanks to everyone who attended the exhibitions in January and especially those who took the time to give us their feedback and comments. As this report makes clear, this has been and continues to be of great value to the team as we progress this hugely important transport project for Scotland.
"We are now starting to speak with local residents and other affected parties about the construction phase and gaining further feedback which will help us ensure the most effective possible mitigation measures are in place."
The next steps for the project include the formal start of the procurement process to identify a construction contractor, which is expected to begin shortly.
The Scottish Government will seek ultimate approval for the project through a Parliamentary Bill, which is expected to be published later this year.