News alert: Forth bridges to be run by private sector firms

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The new Forth crossing and the existing Forth Road Bridge are to be ‘privatised’, it has been announced, reports Gail Milne.

Private sector bids are to be invited for the job of maintaining and operating the new structure and the existing road bridge.

SNP Transport Minister, Keith Brown, made the decision to invite private sector bids.

Fife LibDem councillor, Tony Martin, who is FETA Convener, said: “We are pleased that the Minister has accepted our view that a single body should be appointed to manage the new crossing and the existing bridge together, taking advantage of existing staff and resources.

“There are obvious efficiencies and operational benefits to be gained by avoiding duplication of resources and by one body co-ordinating maintenance and traffic management between the two structures.

“We always recognised that this might mean dissolving FETA as currently constituted, although it is important that some local accountability is retained in light of the impact of bridge works on local communities. We are pleased that the Scottish Government is addressing this issue via the establishment of a Forth bridges forum.

“We welcome the news that there will be no compulsory redundancies, as it is vital that we retain the unique knowledge and skills of the highly experienced team already on site.

“Our overall priority is what is best for the Forth bridges and the people who rely on them, so we look forward to working closely with Transport Scotland to make a success of these new arrangements.”