Contrary to what many people suggest, no decision has yet been reached on extending Edinburgh’s tram line to Newhaven. Below is a briefing on the steps being taken to inform Councillors before a decision is reached.
We are coming to the last stage of the thorough and complex Final Business Case (FBC) for the proposed tram extension. I thought it would be useful to lay out the intended schedule of group briefings and opportunities to interrogate the FBC ahead of the decision date.
There are two key dates in our decision-making. These are the Transport & Environment Committee of 28th February, when we devote a large part of the agenda to discussion of the FBC. This will then by followed by Full Council deliberations on 14th March.
Ahead of this we wish to provide as many opportunities as possible for councillors to become familiar with the material and, equally, to ask questions of the Tram Team who have populated the FBC.
Given that this time of year is dominated by the Budget process and that we have no wish to cut across the time required by that process, we have created a timetable which also takes into account the demands of the February recess period.
We are proposing that the Data Room containing the FBC, which will be staffed by various members of the Tram Team to provide answers where required, should run on:
- Thursday 7 Feb : 4 – 8pm (day of Full Council including evening hours)
- Friday 8 Feb : 10 – 3 pm
- Monday 11 Feb : 10 – 3 pm
- Tuesday 12 Feb : 10 – 8 pm (including evening hours)
- Wed 13 Feb : 10 – 3 pm
We appreciate that the last three dates occur during the recess and that may cause difficulties for some councillors. That is why we have extended hours on the day of Full Council into the evening to allow some flexibility around when people are able to visit the data room.
The tram team will then make themselves available on Monday 25 and Tuesday 26 February for briefings of all political groups, if requested. The independent advisor, John Baggs, who previously contributed to the briefing and committee process around the Outline Business Case (OBC), will be available if any Group wants to avail themselves of his advice on those days.
This schedule also incorporates the timing of valuable input from external contributors. We hope that this notice will give everyone an opportunity to access the information required to facilitate Group decisions and preparation ahead of this, as well as providing enough space around the similar Budget process timing.