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26 May 2010

Forth Replacement Crossing project a step closer after backing from MSPs

The Forth Replacement Crossing project moved a step closer today after MSPs backed the Forth Crossing Bill to go forward to the next stage of parliamentary scrutiny.

The Bill, introduced to the Scottish Parliament by Scottish Government Ministers in November 2009, contains proposals for the Forth Replacement Crossing, which would see a new 2.7km bridge and a number of road connections built and upgraded in Scotland's biggest infrastructure project for a generation.

Following the Stage 1 debate, MSPs voted overwhelmingly in favour to carry the Bill forward to Stage 2, where individual objections will be considered in greater detail.

Speaking after the debate, Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson said:

"This is an important milestone for the Forth Replacement Crossing. There is now near universal agreement that this project, the biggest Scottish infrastructure project for a generation, is vital to the sustainable growth Scotland's economy.

"The case for this project could not be more compelling and the Scottish Government is committed to seeing the Forth Replacement Crossing delivered on time and on budget by 2016. I now look forward to seeing the Forth Crossing Bill progress to Stage 2 where these proposals can be considered in greater detail.

"There is, clearly, still a significant amount of work to do and we have made a number of changes and commitments on the project based on objections received and recommendations in the Forth Crossing Bill committee's Stage 1 report. These changes will strengthen our commitments to promoting sustainable transport and minimising unnecessary impact on local communities."

The proposed changes to the project announced by Mr Stevenson include:

The development of a Public Transport Strategy, in conjunction with SEStrans and local authorities, that seeks to ensure integration with public transport and encourage modal shift from cars to public transport, which includes a commitment to work with Fife Council to deliver a park and ride facility at Halbeath.

The formation of a noise liaison group with the relevant local authorities to monitor and control noise during construction, and the development of a Memorandum of Understanding on noise and vibration matters that will establish how works will be planned and monitored to minimise noise.

Reducing the normal core working hours for road construction on the project to take place between 8am and 7pm, with a 30 minute start up time.

A commitment to further explore with West Lothian Council and Newton Community Council ways in which potential traffic impacts in the village may be mitigated.

Stewart Stevenson
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