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Edinburgh Tram (Line Two) Bill Committee  

2nd Report, 2005 (Session 2)

Remit and Membership
Report
Annexe A: Further Information
Annexe B: Minutes
Annexe C: Other Amendments
Annexe D: Objections from Preliminary Stage
Annexe E
Annexe F

Remit and membership 

Remit:

To consider and report to the Parliament on the Edinburgh Tram (Line Two) Bill.

Membership:

Bill Aitken (Convener)
Marilyn Livingstone
Kate Maclean
Alasdair Morgan
Jeremy Purvis (Deputy Convener)

Committee Clerking Team:

Clerk to the Committee
Terry Shevlin

Support Manager
Gail Grant

Consideration Stage Report on the Edinburgh Tram (Line Two) Bill   

The Committee reports to the Parliament as follows—

1. The Edinburgh Tram (Line Two) Bill is a Private Bill, being promoted by the City of Edinburgh Council.  Following its introduction on 29 January 2004, there was a 60 day objection period which ended on 29 March 2004.  82 admissible objections were lodged during the objection period and three late objections were also received.

2. The Bill has been introduced by the promoter to obtain the necessary statutory powers to construct and operate a tramline that will follow a western course, running from St Andrew Square along Princes Street to Haymarket, Murrayfield, South Gyle and the airport, with a spur from Ingliston park and ride to Newbridge.  A fuller description of the Bill can be found in the Committee’s Preliminary Stage report.

3. Following the publication of the Preliminary Stage report and a debate at a meeting of the Parliament on 23 February 2005, the Parliament agreed the general principles of the Bill and that the Bill should proceed as a Private Bill1.  The Parliamentary Bureau referred the Bill back to the Edinburgh Tram (Line Two) Bill Committee to take Consideration Stage.

4. Consideration Stage involves the consideration of objections and the detail of the Bill and is split into two distinct phases. This report marks the completion of the first phase, where the Committee must arbitrate between the interests of the promoter and the interests of each of the remaining objectors and report on each outstanding objection.  In this report, the Committee gives its decision on whether to uphold or to dismiss each objection.  The second phase of Consideration Stage is where the Committee will consider all admissible amendments that have been lodged to the Bill.  After Consideration Stage has been completed, the Bill moves to Final Stage.  This is where final consideration of the Private Bill and a decision whether to pass or reject it will be taken at a meeting of the whole Parliament.

Consideration Stage procedure

5. At the start of Consideration Stage, and in accordance with Rule 9A.9.4 of Standing Orders, the Committee grouped those objections which, in its opinion, were the same or similar. The result of this process was that of the 77 outstanding objections that remained following the conclusion of Preliminary Stage, 57 groups were subsequently formed by the Committee.  Following informal discussions between the clerks and objectors, the Committee also agreed “lead objectors” for each group, to have responsibility for coordinating that group’s provision of evidence.  Where an objection was not or could not be grouped, the original objector automatically became the lead objector for that “group”. 

6. All groups and the promoter were then invited to produce a series of written evidence, in sequence.  It was made clear to all parties that all written evidence must relate back to the terms of the relevant original objection, must not introduce any new evidence and would culminate in the provision of oral evidence in cases where outstanding differences could not be resolved.

7. Initially, all parties submitted witness lists and summaries, which provided the names of the witnesses who would provide detailed evidence on their behalf and which summarised the evidence that these witnesses would provide.  The Committee subsequently agreed to take further written evidence from all the witnesses suggested by the parties involved, in the form of witness statements.  In so doing, the Committee made it clear to certain objectors and the promoter that some issues raised in witness summaries should not be raised in witness statements, as they were not relevant to the Bill or they had already been dealt with in full by the Committee at Preliminary Stage.

8. The promoter and lead objectors provided witness statements for each of their respective witnesses, containing the detailed account of that witness’s evidence.  Witness statements provided by lead objectors were sent to the promoter for written rebuttal, and vice versa.  The purpose of providing rebuttals to witness statements was to make it clear to the Committee which issues had been resolved and which remained outstanding between the two parties, so that oral evidence-taking would be more focussed.

9. The Committee met to take oral evidence where it became clear that the outstanding issues between the promoter and an objector could not be resolved through written evidence. 

10. All the witnesses who provided oral evidence to the Committee did so on the basis that their written evidence would be treated “as read”, meaning that the Committee did not want this evidence simply to be repeated.  Instead, the Committee’s focus was on examining how, if possible and if desirable, outstanding issues could be addressed practically.    

11. The Committee held meetings in the Scottish Parliament on 22 and 28 June, 14, 21 and 28 September, 26 October and 9, 16, 23, and 28 November 2005, at which it took oral evidence from the promoter, objectors and their witnesses.  The Committee also took oral evidence at joint meetings with the Edinburgh Tram (Line One) Bill Committee on 14 June and 1 November.  These meetings were limited to consideration of objections identical to both Bills.  The Minutes of all these meetings, which provide details of those who gave evidence to the Committee, are reproduced at Annexe B.  

12. Several objectors stated that they preferred not to provide any further written evidence (or made no contact with the Committee at all).  It was made clear to these objectors that they would not be able to provide subsequently any oral evidence.   

13. While written evidence was being submitted, meetings were held between the clerks, objectors and representatives of the promoter at which the proposed timetable and format for providing oral evidence at Consideration Stage was discussed.  The Committee also undertook a site visit to various properties and areas of land on 8 June 2005, at the request of a number of the objectors. 

14. Several objections were withdrawn before and during this first phase of Consideration Stage, as a result of negotiations between the promoter and objectors.  The report does not address any issues raised in objections that have been withdrawn, other than those that were withdrawn on the understanding that the Committee would make appropriate amendments at the second phase of Consideration Stage.  These amendments can be found in annexe C.  Annex D provides a full list of all the outstanding objections from Preliminary Stage and indicates whether they were withdrawn or whether further evidence was taken on them.

Alternative alignments

15. After the Committee had commenced Consideration Stage, it received a request from the promoter for it to consider a proposal to change the alignment of the tram route at two points - in the Haymarket Yards area and the Gyle area - which would take it outwith the limits of deviation.  Such changes, if agreed by the Committee, would necessitate amendments to the Bill. 

16. The Committee agreed that this proposal merited consideration, meaning that it had to be made aware of any relevant arguments and objections in relation to the route before it could make a decision on the most appropriate alignment.  In practical terms, this meant that the promoter advertised the proposed route changes, notified affected parties and produced revised and supplementary accompanying documents explaining what the proposed amendments would involve.  A new objection period was established and seven objections were received.

17. The Committee subsequently agreed that the notification carried out by the promoter and the revised documents it produced were adequate, and that all the new objections should progress to Consideration Stage.  All of these objections were subsequently withdrawn.  

Approach taken by the Committee

18. The Committee appreciates that participating in the Private Bill process places a burden on objectors and the promoter, and recognises that the process can raise difficult and challenging issues.  Therefore, the Committee would like to thank the promoter, objectors and their respective witnesses for their cooperation in providing all the evidence required in a timeous fashion and for conducting themselves in a courteous and professional manner during oral evidence-taking.

19. The Committee took extremely seriously its role as quasi-judicial arbiter at Consideration Stage, given the need to comply with the principles of natural justice and its obligations under the Human Rights Act.  The procedures applied ensured that the promoter and each objector had a fair opportunity to present their case and to question the opposing case.  Further, the Committee sought to maintain a relatively informal atmosphere during oral evidence-taking, subject to the need to examine all of the evidence in an open and fair manner.  This has enabled the Committee to assess fully whether the Bill strikes an appropriate balance between the rights of individuals affected by the Bill and the wider public interest served by the Bill.  

20. Given that all the written and oral evidence provided to the Committee is available on its website, it should be noted that this report does not rehearse in full every argument pertaining to all the individual issues which were raised in evidence.  If an issue is not specifically mentioned, it is because the Committee was not persuaded by the objector’s case.  Further, if an issue was resolved during oral evidence, that issue has not been addressed in detail in this report. 

21. The decisions made by the Committee in this report have been reached on the basis of the evidence considered at Preliminary Stage as well as all of the evidence provided by the promoter, objectors and their respective witnesses at Consideration Stage.  

Consideration of Evidence  

22. In considering the evidence and the Bill in general, it remains open to the Committee, notwithstanding the Parliament’s approval of the general principles of the Bill at Preliminary Stage, to recommend that the Bill is not passed at Final Stage.  In particular, the Committee could make that recommendation if it considers that any inevitable adverse local environmental impacts consequential upon the scheme would outweigh the public policy desirability of the scheme. 

23. The Committee has therefore considered in detail whether any additional measures should be carried out in order to mitigate the environmental impact of the scheme.  Only then could the Committee establish whether any residual impacts, after mitigation, would be within acceptable limits and offset by the wider benefits of the scheme. 

24. The following paragraphs discuss the Committee’s general views on the mitigation measures proposed by the promoter, in particular its approach to noise and vibration, and the relevant compensation arrangements that would be available to objectors.  The Committee’s decisions on whether to uphold or reject each objection are then presented.      

Noise and Vibration Policy/Code of Construction Practice

25. The promoter has stated that there are no noise insulation regulations or other statutory requirements to control noise from railways (including trams) in Scotland2.  Instead, the promoter intends to deal with operational noise and vibration though the “Noise and Vibration Policy” (NVP) and with construction noise and vibration through the “Code of Construction Practice” (COCP).  The promoter intends that both of these documents will be binding on relevant contractors by being incorporated into the appropriate contracts for the construction and operation of the tram. 

26. The purpose of the COCP “is to define the policy of the promoter in relation to the minimum standards of construction practice in so far as they affect the environment, amenity and safety of local residents, businesses, the general public and the physical surroundings and the natural and cultural heritage in the vicinity of proposed works”3.  This includes issues such as access and loading, pest control, and dust and air pollution, all of which have been raised as concerns by objectors.

27. The COCP also sets out maximum noise levels that are not to be exceeded by the contractor during construction, the means by which these noise levels will be monitored and the action that will be taken if they are exceeded. 

28. In terms of mitigating tram noise during operation, the NVP takes a two-tiered approach.  First, the promoter will calculate the existing background noise along the proposed tram line.  If the noise from the tram is expected to exceed this existing noise by the amounts set out in the NVP, the promoter will consider options for noise mitigation during the design stage, for example the provision of noise barriers.  Where this mitigation does not work, the NVP then states the noise levels at which noise insulation will be provided for residential properties. 

29. The Committee welcomes the commitments made by the promoter in both of these documents.  In particular, it notes the claim in the NVP that the measures being proposed are “set at significantly lower noise levels than apply for statutory noise insulation elsewhere”4

30. Nevertheless, the Committee believes it is important that the measures being proposed by the promoter in both the COCP and the NVP should be given some form of statutory backing, in order to reassure objectors that the minimum standards of mitigation set out in these documents will be applied.  Therefore, the Committee will amend the Bill to ensure that the standards set out in these documents – at the very least – will be met by the promoter and any subsequent contractor.  This amendment will also cover any minimum standards of mitigation set out in local construction plans that are subsequently developed.  The Committee also proposes to amend the Bill to ensure that noise insulation will be provided in residential properties on the basis described in the NVP - currently, the Bill does not actually state the noise levels at which noise insulation would be provided.  

Environmental Statement

31. The Environmental Statement is another key document that sets out minimum standards of mitigation that will be applied.  The Committee will also amend the Bill to ensure that, at the very least, the standards set out in the Environmental Statement are binding on the promoter and any successive authorised undertaker.

32. Similarly, the Committee is keen to ensure that any commitments made by the promoter to the Committee are actually delivered.  For example, the promoter has made pledges on the record about the mitigation it will provide to certain objectors. While the Committee does not doubt the intentions of the promoter, it feels that it would be more appropriate to amend the Bill, to ensure that the commitments the promoter has made are actually delivered.  

33. The approach being taken by the Committee should reassure objectors that mitigation will, where promised, be carried out.    

Compensation  

34. The Committee also questioned the promoter on the adequacy of the relevant compensation arrangements that would be available to objectors.  The Committee heard assurances from the promoter’s witnesses that all eligible objectors would receive compensation on the same basis as any other compulsory purchase in Scotland.  This is because the Bill adopts the standard procedure for assessing compensation for land and rights acquired that are contained in existing legislation, particularly the Lands Clauses Acts and the Land Compensation (Scotland) Acts 1963 and 1973.  This means that the Bill is subject to the same procedural rules, safeguards and requirements regarding compensation as apply generally.  Disputes about the amount of compensation payable may be referred to the Lands Tribunal for Scotland. 

35. On the basis of the evidence presented by the promoter, the Committee is content that objectors will be appropriately compensated in respect of (generally speaking) any land compulsorily acquired and, where no land is acquired, for any reduction in value of the land caused by physical factors associated with the scheme.  The Committee is pleased to note that witnesses for the promoter confirmed that in the overall funding estimates for this scheme, sufficient funding will be available to allow for compensation to be paid to objectors5.

36. The Committee is also pleased to note that it has persuaded the promoter of the need to incorporate in the Bill, section 6 of the Railway Clauses Consolidation (Scotland) Act 1845, which would enable compensation to be paid for reduction in property value arising from construction works6.  Therefore, the Committee will amend the Bill at phase 2 of Consideration Stage to apply that provision.  

Blight

37. The Committee is also concerned that objectors should not be blighted by having the threat of compulsory purchase hanging over them indefinitely.  The Committee notes that the Bill applies the general law relating to blight7.  The effect is that, in certain circumstances, certain landowners whose land is intended to be compulsorily acquired for the scheme can require the advance purchase of property which has become unsaleable at its former market price. 

38. The Committee also confirms that it will amend section 39 of the Bill, in line with concerns expressed by the Subordinate Legislation Committee8, to ensure that the power to extend the time limit under which land can be acquired is limited to no more than fifteen years.  This will ensure that the promoter could not seek to delay indefinitely the purchase of land it would require to construct, for example, the Newbridge to Ingliston section of the line.       

objections

39. Having set out the Committee’s general views on the mitigation measures and compensation arrangements proposed by the promoter, this section presents the Committee’s decision on each remaining objection.

Group 2: Versicolor Limited; Group 3: CGM (Edinburgh) Ltd; Group 5: The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS); Group 7: Haymarket Yards Ltd  

40. Groups 2, 3, 5 and 7 comprise objectors who lodged objections in relation to the impact of the tram route in the Haymarket Yards area.  As noted, this is an area where the promoter requested that the Committee consider the merits of an alternative alignment, which is different to the route set out in the Bill.  

41. While there were seven objections lodged to the Bill alignment, three of these objections have been withdrawn.  Three objections were lodged to the alternative route proposed by the promoter and all were subsequently withdrawn. 

42. In the written evidence provided by three of the four extant objectors to the Bill alignment (namely, CGM, ICAS and Haymarket Yards Ltd), it was clear that none of these objectors supported the Bill alignment and that there were various alternative routes they did prefer.  When the Committee took oral evidence from witnesses for these objectors, they strongly supported the specific alternative route being proposed by the promoter. 

43. The Committee has given detailed consideration to this alternative route.  For the reasons given by the promoter, it is quite clear to the Committee that the advantages of the route are compelling.  Further, not only is it preferred by the promoter, it is also of demonstrable benefit to the three objectors.

44. For the remaining objector, Versicolor Limited, the promoter stated that “the problem of which Versicolor complain is quite unaffected by the amendment either way, so their position would be the same on either route”9.  Moreover, the Committee notes that this objector has not objected to the promoter’s alternative route.

45. On the basis of all the evidence relating to the Haymarket Yards area, and given that the promoter’s alternative route has no additional impact on Versicolor, the Committee agrees that this route is preferable in the Haymarket Yards area.  The Committee will therefore amend the Bill to ensure that this particular route is selected. 

46. Accordingly, the Committee does not uphold the objections from CGM, ICAS and Haymarket Yards Ltd.    

Group 2: Versicolor Limited

47. The objector has asserted that it will suffer loss of amenity and loss of value to its property, because the promoter requires to purchase compulsorily a part of its land.  The objector has further stated that the land is not actually required for the tram line itself and that its acquisition could potentially lead to the loss of one or two car parking spaces.

48. In evidence presented to the Committee, the promoter confirmed that a small section of boundary wall will have to be moved back into Versicolor's forecourt due to the adjacent highway configuration.  The objector’s forecourt and car park will have to be reconfigured and, in essence, a maximum of two car parking spaces will be lost. 

49. The Committee is satisfied that the proposed intrusion in the land owned by the objector is necessary and that the outstanding issues are primarily about compensation.  Given the promoter’s confirmation that compensation would be payable for the loss of the objector’s land and for the loss of any car parking spaces, the Committee is content on this matter.  The promoter has also made a commitment that there will be on-going dialogue with the objector, to provide warning of occasions where access to its property cannot take place.    

50. Accordingly, the Committee does not uphold the objection from this objector.

Group 8: New Town, Broughton and Pilrig Community Council (“NTBPCC”)

51. The NTBPCC represents various areas within central Edinburgh that would be impacted by the tram.  Its major concern is the promoter’s decision to route the tram line along a short section of Queen Street (from the end of York Place to the corner of North St David Street) rather than around the north side of St Andrew Square.  In particular, it is felt that this decision will create congestion in and around Queen Street, and noise impacts for local residents.  The objector also believes that the impact on Princes Street could have been avoided or minimised if the promoter had chosen to run the tram alongside existing heavy rail links between Waverly and Haymarket railway stations, or if it had opted for ground rail electrification.      

52. The Committee does not believe that sufficiently compelling evidence was presented by the objector to justify its assertion that an electrified tram route would lessen the impact on Princes Street.  The promoter has stated that its chosen method (using overhead wires) is a proven one and that there are inherent problems with an electrified system.  Indeed, the Committee was advised that about 390 of the 400 or so light rail transport systems that operate in the world do so on overhead line electrification traction systems10.

53. The Committee also accepts the comprehensive arguments made by the promoter against sharing the heavy rail line.  Network Rail has advised the promoter that such an operation would be impossible and the Committee has no reason to doubt this.  In practical terms, the Committee believes that there would be obvious limits on accessibility if the tram were to run alongside the heavy rail alignment rather than on-street.    

54. The Committee has greater sympathy with the objector’s concerns about the likelihood of there being increased traffic on Queen Street and surrounding streets as a result of the tram.  By the admission of one witness for the promoter, of all the relevant city centre road junctions, one of the greatest impacts will be on the Queen Street and North St Andrew Street junction.11  The same witness also acknowledged that in addition to the effect on traffic flows, there would be fewer delays and greater operational effectiveness if the tram did not come into Queen Street. 

55. The promoter’s rationale for choosing Queen Street is that it is undesirable for the tram to travel along the north side of St Andrew Square, given the square’s historical and aesthetic significance. 

56. On balance, the Committee accepts that there should be minimal intrusion into this area.  It would be unacceptable to have the tram on the north side, given the impact this would have on the setting of the listed buildings and the severance of the square.  The Committee is therefore satisfied with the promoter’s justification for avoiding the north side of St Andrew Square. 

57. That said, the Committee appreciates the genuine concerns about traffic impacts on Queen Street, given the possible future volume of tram and other vehicles.  However, the Committee is content that the regulation of such detailed matters will, if appropriate, be examined by the relevant authorities after the Bill is enacted.  

58. A further, related aspect of the NTBPCC’s concerns over Queen Street is possible “wheel squeal” caused by the tram running on a tight stretch of track.  The Committee is content with the promoter’s assurances that wheel squeal is unlikely to occur.  However, even if it does occur, the promoter has stated that it has a number of options available to address wheel squeal, for example by lubricating the track in order to reduce frictional forces. Ultimately, the promoter has confirmed that if wheel squeal occurs, noise insulation would be available for the residential properties in question.   

59. The Committee appreciates the NTBPCC’s concerns about the likelihood of visual intrusion in Edinburgh city centre due to the permanent infrastructure that will be required for the tram.  Therefore, the Committee welcomes the fact that the relevant department of the City of Edinburgh Council will include prior approval applications in its weekly list of planning applications12.  As the weekly list is sent out to all community councils, the NTBPCC could examine this list and may be able to input into the prior approval process.

60. Accordingly, the Committee does not uphold the objection from this objector.

Group 9: Scottish Rugby Union plc (the “SRU”)

61. The SRU supports the principle of the tram line but has particular concerns about how its construction and operation will impact on Murrayfield stadium, “the home of Scottish rugby”.  A key issue for the SRU is whether the promoter will be given permission from Network Rail for its proposal to build an embankment for the tram adjacent to the existing rail line, a proposal that would encroach very marginally into Murrayfield.  If Network Rail does not give permission, this could result in the promoter requiring more of the objector’s land, reduced movement space for spectators and possible safety impacts.  Given that Murrayfield is a working stadium that hosts rugby and non-rugby events throughout the year, the objector is concerned that construction work may affect Murrayfield’s operational capabilities. The objector also wishes to ensure that pitches affected by construction works are fully reinstated.

62. After providing oral evidence, the promoter and the objector issued a joint written statement to the Committee on 28 November 2005 (contained in annexe E).  The statement acknowledged that negotiations between the two sides had encountered difficulties, because of various complex issues still requiring to be resolved.  However, it was also made clear that not only are negotiations still on-going, but that both the promoter and the SRU remain committed to finalising a legal agreement by the end of this year. 

63. That said, as the objection has not been formally withdrawn, the Committee is still obliged to determine it.

64. In that regard, the Committee understands from the promoter that Network Rail has given verbal confirmation that it sees no major problems with the route proposed, with construction of the tram line almost wholly on Network Rail land.  The Committee is therefore hopeful that this preferred solution will be implemented.  If, however, for whatever reason Network Rail retracts this in-principle consent, permanent works would need to be built on SRU land, albeit within the lines of deviation.  This may involve reconfiguring or repositioning some of the existing features on the ground.

65. It is unfortunate that Network Rail was not in a position to consent definitively to the preferred solution by the time the Committee took oral evidence on this objection.  Nevertheless, the Committee is content that if the works do need to be built on SRU land, the promoter has limited any likely incursion, in so far as is practicable, and that the incursion is necessary. The Committee is also content that the concerns of the objector regarding the section 50 agreement and design and operational issues can be appropriately managed.  Indeed, in light of the oral evidence and the joint statement referred to above, the Committee is reasonably optimistic that full agreement will be reached between the parties on all of the outstanding matters, including what has been described as the “rejigging arrangements”, should that be necessary.   

66. Accordingly, the Committee does not uphold the objection from this objector.

Groups 10 - 20

67. The objections from groups 10-20 were all submitted by, or on behalf of, businesses based in Roseburn Street in Edinburgh.  There are strong similarities between the objections and, indeed, some of these were lodged in almost identical terms. 

68. None of the objectors in this area presented oral evidence to the Committee, electing instead to rest on their original objections.  As with all such cases, the Committee did take further oral evidence from witnesses proposed by the promoter.

69. This section of the report considers the evidence provided that is common to these objections and gives the Committee’s general response, before examining the individual merits of each objection in more detail.  

70. The alignment of the tram behind the properties in Roseburn Street is acknowledged by the promoter to be particularly tightand restrictive.  However, the promoter considers it to be the better of the two routes it examined in this area that were taken forward for public consultation.  One advantage of this route, for example, is that it is segregated from the pedestrian traffic that can make Roseburn Street impassable for periods after major events at the neighbouring Murrayfield rugby stadium.

71. The Committee has examined in detail how the implementation of the Bill is likely to impact on the Roseburn Street objectors; whether it is necessary for the promoter to acquire all of the land proposed to be subject to compulsory purchase in this area; and whether the promoter is proposing to take adequate steps to address or mitigate any environmental impacts.   

72. While the Committee is pleased to note the promoter’s evidence suggesting that it has sought to minimise the effects on businesses in Roseburn Street, there will still be severe impacts for some of the objectors.  

73. The Committee, therefore, questioned the promoter on the adequacy of the relevant compensation arrangements that would be available to these objectors.  The Committee heard assurances from the promoter’s witnesses, contrary to the fears of several of the Roseburn Street objectors, that they would receive compensation on the same basis as any other compulsory purchase in Scotland, as discussed in paragraphs 34-36.   

74. Another issue raised by some of the objectors is that they feel the amount of land that the promoter is planning to take in the Roseburn Street area is excessive and that their land is, unnecessarily, going to be acquired compulsorily13.  The promoter provided written evidence to the Committee stating that there had been a “misunderstanding” amongst certain objectors about the extent of likely impacts.  Where practicable, the promoter has reassured objectors if their land will not require to be compulsorily acquired.

75. On balance, the Committee accepts the reasons given by the promoter for the selection of the proposed route.  It also accepts that in developing the scheme as set out in the Bill, the promoter has sought to minimise the extent of land taken from these objectors, where possible.  

76. The Committee is also satisfied that any environmental impacts (e.g. noise and vibration) would, after mitigation, be brought within acceptable limits and that those impacts should be considered in the context of the wider benefits that will accrue from the scheme as a whole.  The Committee is also pleased to note that where practicable the promoter has offered to enter into agreements with the objectors, providing further clarification on the extent of any likely impacts on them.

77. Having considered issues that are broadly similar for several of the objectors based in Roseburn Street and outlined the Committee’s general response, the  decision on each objection is provided below.

Group 10: Vanguard Rental (UK) Ltd

78. This objector faces particularly serious impacts as its premises are to be demolished to accommodate the tram.  Clearly, the Committee considers such a scenario with the utmost gravity. 

79. In questioning the route chosen and its impact on this objector, the Committee accepts that the promoter seems to have made genuine attempts to find an alternative alignment, but that this is not practicable bearing in mind the restrictions outlined in paragraph 70.  For this particular objector, the combined impacts of the nearby infrastructure and other operational considerations have been insurmountable.   Indeed, at the initial design stage, it became apparent to the promoter that even a minimal incursion into this site would be so operationally unacceptable to the objector that it would have to relocate.  This, along with the proximity of the Murrayfield entrance and other factors, led to this site being developed as the location for a likely stop.  The Committee accepts that this has minimised the need for the scheme to intrude on other businesses.  

80. According to the promoter, discussions with the objector have indicated that the sole outstanding issue is compensation.  The Committee is therefore pleased to note the promoter’s assurances that compensation would be provided as explained in paragraph 73.  This will compensate the objector for the market value of the premises and for any other losses that flow from the business being taken, including any loss of profits. 

81. Accordingly, the Committee does not uphold the objection from this objector.

Group 12: Mr Frank Earley

82. The objector’s concern relates to the fact that he has obtained planning permission to construct an office development, but the tram alignment is routed directly through this development.  In written evidence, the promoter claims that it has reviewed the alignment but it is not possible to avoid directly impacting the proposed development.

83. In oral evidence, the promoter’s witnesses confirmed that “there are good prospects of settling the objector's claim at market value, subject to the completion of the survey and the legal formalities” and that the Committee should proceed on the basis that, in effect, agreement has been reached with Mr Earley14.  The Committee accepts that this is primarily a compensation matter, given the compelling case for the proposed alignment.   Failing agreement between the parties, the amount of compensation would fall to be determined by the Lands Tribunal for Scotland.

84. Accordingly, the Committee does not uphold the objection from this objector.

Group 13: Stepgrade Motor Accessories Ltd/Viking International

85. The objection lodged states that the proposed tramline will cut directly through the objector’s depot and will involve the acquisition of his leasehold interest.  The promoter has confirmed that the whole site would have to be purchased for the construction of the tram.  In oral evidence, the promoter further stated that the objector recognises that the only outstanding issue is one of compensation, and that he has no desire to have any further consultation with the promoter. 

86. The Committee acknowledges the severity of the situation for this objector and regrets that, for the greater good of enabling the tram line to be constructed, the property will have to be demolished.  However, on the basis of the evidence presented by the promoter, the Committee is content that the objector will be adequately compensated under the compensation scheme applied by the Bill.  The specific compensation elements are the same as those noted for group 10,  Vanguard Rental.

87. Accordingly, the Committee does not uphold the objection from this objector.

Group 14: Mr Mohammed Khalil (Roseburn Garage)

88. The promoter is still unable to state definitely whether the final alignment in the area will impact the objector’s property or whether he will be able to retain all his existing property. 

89. While the Committee appreciates that the promoter appears to be making real efforts to minimise the impact on this objector, it is unfortunate that in this case no guarantees can be provided until the final design has been prepared.  The Committee accepts the reasons given by the promoter as to why it would be unwise to reduce the Bill’s limits.  It also notes that the promoter has confirmed that it will make every effort to try to minimise any impact.  The Committee is also reassured by the fact that compensation would ultimately be payable in respect of any land acquired and other losses directly attributable to the scheme. 

90. Accordingly, the Committee does not uphold the objection from this objector.

Group 15: Collinsons Ceramics

91. The promoter has stated that no physical impact is proposed to the building that is owned and operated by this objector.  Evidence was provided to show that there have been repeated attempts by the promoter to communicate with the objector in an attempt to resolve the objection, but that there has been very little response.   The Committee hopes that the objector will be reassured by the promoter’s clarification that its land will not be compulsorily acquired. 

92. The objector has also expressed concern about people using its property for access and disruption being caused. However, the Committee is satisfied that the Code of Construction Practice will be applied to minimise disruption to businesses affected by the construction of the scheme.  In general, the Committee is satisfied that the promoter has been able to rebut the various arguments put forward by the objector.

93. Accordingly, the Committee does not uphold the objection from this objector.

Group 16: Customs Project Limited (Mr W Kelly)     

94. Even with the promoter’s attempts to devise a revised alignment, certain of the objector’s units will have to be compulsorily purchased as the Bill alignment cuts across the rear of the objector’s property. The promoter has indicated that there may be some scope during the detailed design process for this impact to be minimised and for the majority of the unit to be returned. However, the Committee appreciates that given the degree of uncertainty, the promoter cannot at this stage adjust the limits of deviation to exclude the property15

95. In oral evidence, it became apparent that negotiations between the promoter and the objector have reached a deadlock.  The Committee acknowledges that for this group the outstanding issue seems to be one of compensation and it is again content with the promoter’s evidence that appropriate compensation would be payable.

96. Accordingly, the Committee does not uphold the objection from this objector.

Group 18: Patricia Dewar (P D Labels)

97. Oral evidence provided by the promoter’s witnesses confirmed that there will be no direct impact on the unit that this objector rents from group 16.  Therefore, there does not seem to be a need to relocate the premises, as the original objection has supposed. 

98. While there will be no be direct impacts, the objector has also raised concerns about possible disruption to her business as a result of the construction of the scheme.  The Committee is content with the reassurances it has received from the promoter about the application of the Code of Construction Practice.  In particular, the Committee notes that the Code of Construction Practice is expected, where necessary, to include local site specific requirements to be developed in consultation with affected persons.  In relation to businesses on Roseburn Street, this will include ensuring that visibility and access will be maintained to the highest practicable standard throughout the construction, through the implementation of the Code of Construction Practice16.  

99. Accordingly, the Committee does not uphold the objection from this objector.

Group 19: Gray’s Mill Coachworks (Mr B Ronald)

100. The promoter has confirmed that there will be no direct impact on the property that this objector rents from group 16.  The remaining issues are very similar to those of group 18 and the Committee therefore adopts that finding.    

101. Accordingly, the Committee does not uphold the objection from this objector.

Group 20: MRM Coachworks    

102. Letters have been sent by the promoter to the objector to confirm that it should not be necessary to use its property; the promoter cannot give a categorical assurance on the likelihood of property being used, as an emergency situation may arise during the construction phase.  The Committee notes, however, that such a situation is not expected.   

103. The Committee appreciates the objector’s concern about the wide amount of land identified in the Bill to be acquired or used, but also understands that in such a complex and restricted area, such an arrangement provides the promoter with options to consider how best the overall impact of the tram could be minimised.  The Committee is pleased to note that the promoter is negotiating with the objector about how best the limits can be minimised. 

104. As a result of the assurances given by the promoter, the worries expressed by the objector about possible relocation of its business should not materialise.  However, the Committee accepts the promoter’s evidence that appropriate compensation would be payable in such an eventuality.  

105. Accordingly, the Committee does not uphold the objection from this objector.

Group 24: Clerical Medical and General Life Assurance Ltd 

106. This objector is the heritable proprietor of a substantial area of land known as Hermiston Gait in Edinburgh.  The objector also leases 11 units on this land, some of which is used as a shopping centre.

107. A fundamental concern of the objector is that access to its land could be prevented if the promoter acquires or takes temporary possession of certain parcels of its land.  The objector contends that this could have extremely serious impacts on the investment value of its land.  It is also concerned that noise, pollution and lack of safe access could reduce customer usage of the units on the land.  Further, the objector believes that the amount of its land that the promoter intends to take is excessive.

108. Given the importance of access arrangements, the Committee was pleased to note the promoter’s confirmation in oral evidence that it has provided the objector with an undertaking on access during the construction period.  The Committee is satisfied on this point and the fact that the promoter does not now intend to take permanently certain plots of land owned by the objector. 

109. In terms of other points raised by the objector, for example noise, the Committee is content that these will be minimised (in so far as is practicable) under the measures described in the Code of Construction Practice drawn up by the promoter.  The Committee also notes the speculation on the part of the promoter that the scheme, rather than being detrimental to the objector, may in fact lead to the Hermiston Gait shopping centre becoming more attractive to consumers.

110. In summary, the Committee is content that the action being taken by the promoter to address the objector’s concerns will reduce potential impacts to an acceptable degree.  Indeed, the Committee was told by the promoter’s witnesses in oral evidence that the objection would be withdrawn imminently. 

111. The Committee remains hopeful that full agreement will be reached between the parties on all outstanding matters but, as the objection has not yet been formally withdrawn, the Committee is still obliged to determine it.   

112. Accordingly, the Committee does not uphold this objection.

Group 33: Norwich Union Life and Pensions Limited (lead objector)/ National Car Parks Ltd

113. Norwich Union Life and Pensions Limited owns an area of land near Edinburgh airport that is used as a car park; National Car Parks (NCP) leases the land.  Consequently, the objections lodged are very similar. 

114. It is the contention of the objectors that the promoter should follow an alternative route in this area, as they believe that the chosen route will bisect the car park, creating serious financial consequences, and will also lead to traffic congestion.

115. In evidence, the promoter gave a number of reasons as to why the alternative route being proposed is unsuitable; for example, it would be more expensive, while it would not allow for the location of a tram stop to serve the Royal Highland Showgrounds.  Further, the promoter has provided calculations showing that the route it has chosen will not lead to unmanageable queuing on nearby roads.   

116. On the basis of the evidence provided, the Committee agrees that the route selected by the promoter is the better option.

117. That said, the Committee is aware that this route will mean that an as yet unquantified number of car parking spaces will be lost.  However, the Committee is reassured by the promoter’s evidence that compensation would be payable for spaces lost, and will be based on the number of car parking spaces that are lost.   

118. Further, the promoter has provided an undertaking that it will attempt to minimise the final amount of land that is actually taken from the objectors.  The promoter also confirmed that it will comply with the Scottish Executive circular concerned with the “disposal of surplus land acquired under compulsory purchase powers, or under threat of compulsory purchase, to former owners”17.  The Committee will amend the Bill at phase two to ensure that the promoter will comply with this circular. 

119. In oral evidence, it was the promoter’s contention that the fundamental issue for the objectors is that there should be continued access to the car park during and after the tram construction period.  The promoter confirmed on the record that it has reassured NCP on this matter.  As this is such a fundamental issue, the Committee welcomes this pledge.  

120. The Committee is content that the promoter has satisfactorily answered the concerns raised by these objectors.  Accordingly, the Committee does not uphold these objections.

Group 40: Thames Rico Service Stations Ltd

121. During the first phase of Consideration Stage, the Committee received correspondence from the solicitors for the purchaser, stating that Thames Rico had sold its filling station.  The Committee wrote to Thames Rico asking about its continuing interest (if any) in the station and whether it wished to maintain its objection or not.  It was made clear that if it did not intend to withdraw the objection, that the Committee would likely determine the objection on the understanding that Thames Rico no longer has an interest in the property and by reference to the written evidence already received, and that it would not be the Committee’s intention to take further oral evidence.

122. Thames Rico was asked to reply to this letter, by a deadline of 28 October 2005, to state whether it was unhappy with this proposal.  As no reply was received from the objector, the Committee agreed at its meeting of 9 November 2005 that it would not take oral evidence from the promoter, and that the objection would be considered on the basis of the written evidence and the correspondence from the solicitors for the purchaser. 

123. Accordingly, the Committee reports that Thames Rico has no continuing interest in this objection and the objection is hereby dismissed. 

Group 50: Murrayfield Community Council (MCC)

124. The written evidence presented by MCC contained three main objections, one of which concerned the tram’s impact on Princes Street.  However, the Committee agreed that sufficient evidence had already been provided on this issue by the New Town, Broughton and Pilrig Community Council (NTBPCC), whose ambit seems more relevant.  As Princes Street is not within the ambit of MCC, the Committee determined that MCC was not able to demonstrate how its interests would be adversely affected by the Bill.   As such, MCC is referred to the Committee’s determination on the NTBPCC at paragraphs 51-60.   

125. MCC also stated that it objected to the proposed crossing of Balgreen Road, Roseburn Street, and Russell Road at ground level by the tramway.  In oral evidence, the witness for MMC confirmed that the adoption by the promoter of the “high-level option”18 would mean that this part of the objection was resolved in full19.  The Committee accepts that the high-level option is preferable and will ensure that this option is implemented by amending the Bill to this effect at phase two of Consideration Stage.

126. The third element of the MCC objection – the impact on Baird Drive – was also presented in the objection lodged by the West Edinburgh Residents Trams Action Group.  The Committee’s decision on this objection, as appropriate, applies equally to this group.

127. Accordingly, the Committee upholds this objection only to the extent stated in the preceding paragraphs.

Group 51: West Edinburgh Residents Trams Action Group (“WERTAG”  -  lead objector)/ Mr N Simpson/ Mr J Stevenson           

128. This group’s central concern is the possible impact of a railway embankment behind gardens on Baird Drive being removed in order to accommodate the tram line.

129. The objectors believe that the embankment provides amenity, offers effective protection against the noise generated by the existing railway line and that its removal could result in damage to the gardens’ drainage system and a reduction in available natural sunlight.  Moreover, the group is concerned that construction work will cause excessive disruption to residents, particularly because of the necessity for night time working.  Finally, there is concern that if the Bill is enacted and the proposed works thereby given approval, residents will not enjoy sufficient consultation on the detailed design and construction work that will impact on their properties.  

130. The promoter claims that the embankment is not being removed, but is simply being modified in order to accommodate the tram.  The Committee does not wish to enter into a semantic debate; it is clear that the existing embankment is being significantly modified and that there is scope for the objectors to be considerably inconvenienced. 

131. The Committee acknowledges that there has been a long-running discussion – and dispute – about the location of the tram line in this area.  The Committee is content as regards the need for the tram.  It has also examined very carefully the various alternative routes that have been proposed by both the promoter and the objectors.  In so doing, the Committee acknowledges that residents of this neighbourhood have already been involved in a campaign against a different public transport scheme in this area.  However, the Committee can only concern itself with the scheme being proposed in this Bill. 

132. On the basis of all the evidence provided, the Committee is content that the tram should proceed and that the final route chosen is one that could be characterised by objectors as the “least worst”.  Further, the Committee agrees with the reasons given by the promoter as to why the stretch of the tram route in Baird Drive cannot be single track and that overhead line equipment is the best means of operating the tram.  Given the stated desire of WERTAG to work constructively with the promoter to find the best route, there does not seem to be any realistic alternative to the tram line having to run along the modified embankment. 

133. It is acknowledged by the promoter that the route chosen is likely to result in significant adverse landscape and visual impacts upon Baird Drive and that noise levels during construction are likely to cause some disturbance to residents overlooking the works.  

134. In accepting this, the real issue for the Committee is to consider the extent to which this alignment would interfere with the rights of the objectors; how best any negative impacts can be mitigated to ensure minimum inconvenience for residents; and whether the interference is necessary and proportionate.   

Mitigation

135. In terms of noise mitigation, the Committee appreciates that the promoter is committed to minimising construction noise through the use of temporary site hoardings and minimising operational noise through the use of a permanent acoustic barrier.  Indeed, the promoter has noted that a barrier alongside the tram will screen both tram noise and the existing heavy rail noise and that this will be more effective than the existing tree cover provided at the bottom of the gardens.

136. In terms of landscaping mitigation, the objectors were concerned about the possible impact on the drainage system of the garden caused by existing vegetation being removed.  However, the Committee accepts the evidence of the promoter that this concern should not materialise because of the replacement planting being proposed.

137. The greater concern for the Committee is that this replacement planting will take fifteen years to replicate the existing vegetation.  Given this very long-term impact, the Committee was keen to establish whether this process could be speeded up.  After taking oral evidence on the measures being proposed by the promoter, the Committee remained unsatisfied and wrote to ask the promoter to examine afresh possible alternatives. 

138. The Committee recognises that in the response provided (contained in Annexe F), the promoter seems convinced that it has devised the best possible solution.  The promoter contends that the proposed semi-mature planting at the base of the embankment would screen the garden and ground floor of the houses from year one and that in time the planting of smaller trees and shrubs on the embankment will become dense and bushy, creating a thick and higher screen in the long term.  The promoter rejected the option of planting more semi-mature trees over the entire embankment because, while content that that this would perform well in the short term, it did not consider that this would perform as well in the medium to longer term. 

139. Despite this explanation, the Committee remains concerned about the potentially severe impacts on the objectors.  Therefore, the Committee recommends that the promoter monitors regularly the area in question, to ensure that the landscaping measures being proposed are providing effective screening.  If a more suitable technique subsequently becomes available, the Committee recommends that the promoter keeps this under review and consults on the possible implementation of this technique with the affected householders.  

Consultation

140. In oral evidence, WERTAG claimed that consultation with the promoter had not always been as good as it should have been.  For example, it was pointed out that minutes for previous meetings involving the promoter and the objector had not yet been produced.

141. The Committee is concerned that consultation and communication with group 51 should be as effective as practicable, given the impact that will be felt by residents of Baird Drive.  The Committee has therefore examined how best residents’ views can be taken into consideration when construction work begins, particularly given the likelihood of night time working in this neighbourhood.

142. In so doing, the Committee has carefully considered the particular impacts of the tram on this group, that some of the properties will be adjacent to a construction site and that the construction methodology is likely to be more complex for site specific reasons.

143. On this basis, the Committee requires that the promoter amends the latest version of the Code of Construction Practice to incorporate a requirement on the contractor to consult with Baird Drive residents and to state the timescale within which it will do so.  Further, the promoter should ensure that local construction plans will be developed with these residents.  This will allow householders to be consulted on matters such as construction methodology, working hours, access arrangements and mitigation measures to be put in place during the construction period.   

144. One final issue on which the Committee would like to comment is that of the possible effects of the tram on property values in the area.  The written evidence provided makes it clear that the promoter and the objectors in the group disagree on the likely impact.  As this is not a matter that can be proven categorically until the scheme is in operation, the greater concern for the Committee is whether adequate compensation would be payable to affected householders.  The Committee is content with the promoter’s assertion that there is a right to compensation for a reduction in value caused by the physical factors associated with the scheme, in accordance with the general law on compensation.  While there will not be compensation for loss of visual amenity, the Committee is content that this is also in line with existing compensation legislation20.

145. The Committee upholds WERTAG’s objection only to the extent stated in the preceding paragraphs.       

146. The Committee believes that its findings on the objection from WERTAG can be applied equally, as relevant, to the other objectors in group 51.

147. Group 52: Miss H Reynolds (lead objector)/Mr & Mrs J. L. Leisnham/Mrs E Ball         

148. There has been a degree of confusion as to whether this group’s objection is relevant solely to the Edinburgh Tram (Line 2) Bill or to both Edinburgh Tram Bills.  Written evidence submitted by the promoter has stated that any impacts felt by the objectors would really be as a result of tram one passing their residencies, as tram two trams would not do so.  The lead objector, however, has stated that she was informed by a representative of the promoter that tram two trams would pass the group’s houses on their way to the depot.

149. The Committee was surprised to learn that some trams will indeed run past the objectors’ houses, albeit infrequently, as a result of works provided for in the Line Two Bill. 

150. The Committee accepts that these works are not to be used for trams in service, but are intended only to provide “operational flexibility”, for example, in circumstances where there is a closure of Princes Street, or where there has been a temporary closure of the tram in the Haymarket area.  In such cases, the promoter’s witness stated that such short-term movement of trams is not likely to have any significant impact and would not be measurable in terms of the criteria and methods used to assess noise impact.

151. However, it is surprising that this scenario was not explained in any written evidence provided by the promoter.  Such an omission clearly has potential to cause confusion. 

152. The more substantive issue is whether the objections raised by this group are relevant to line two, given the works provided for in the Bill.

153. Some witnesses for the promoter stated that certain works in the tram two Bill are only to be constructed if tram line one is built.  The Committee believes that this point is irrelevant; it must consider any works provided for in the Bill that are a source of contention to objectors. 

154. In so doing, it seems that there may be at least some construction noise impacts caused by the construction of tram line two, as accepted by one promoter witness21.  However, the Committee is content that any impact will be minimal and will be mitigated effectively.  In particular, the promoter has reassured the Committee that the Code of Construction Practice will ensure strict controls on working hours and the use of quiet working methods which should minimise the likelihood of excessive noise.  The lead objector has raised concerns about the possibility of night time working, but the promoter has pointed out that most work would be carried out during the daytime. 

155. The promoter has also provided evidence to the effect that operational noise from the tram is not likely to cause disturbance to this group.  Further, the Committee is content that tram line two will not result in any significant visual or landscape impacts for this group.  The Committee is therefore content that any residual effects, after mitigation, would be within acceptable limits.

156. Accordingly, the Committee does not uphold the objections from these objectors.

Group 53: Mr D Hodkinson & Ms J Mitchell (lead objector)/ Ms Margaret Duthie        

157. It is the promoter’s contention that tram line two construction and operation will have minimal impacts for Mr Hodkinson and Ms Mitchell and that the works most relevant to this objector will only proceed if line one is constructed.  Again, however, the Committee must investigate objections that relate to any part of the Edinburgh Tram (Line Two) Bill. 

158. In so doing, it is clear that there will indeed be minimal noise impacts during construction of tram line two, and that there will be no noise during operation caused solely by the tram.   

159. The impacts on Ms Duthie, the other objector in this group, are predicted to be more severe, as the objector’s house faces the proposed tram line and an existing railway line.  While the Committee accepts that there is already a busy road in-between the property and the proposed tram line, it is pleased to note that the promoter is committed to providing screening alongside the railway.  The Committee is content that such screening should reduce operational noise to a minor and acceptable level. 

160. The objection from Ms Duthie also expresses, in very strong terms, the environmental impact and the consequent loss of quality of life that she believes will be suffered as a result of the tram being built.  The Committee appreciates the genuine concerns expressed, but notes the proposed mitigation by way of replacement planting in the vicinity of her home.  The Committee accepts the promoter’s evidence that this planting will soften the impact of the change in outlook that the objector will suffer and will bring this impact within acceptable limits.

161. Accordingly, the Committee does not uphold either of the objections in this group.

Group 54: Mrs Dalwinder Kaur              

162. The Committee appreciates the particularly difficult circumstances facing this objector.  Evidence provided by the promoter acknowledges that the objector favours an alternative route, but that this cannot be supported by the promoter.  The promoter has concluded that its identified alignment best meets the objectives of the scheme to provide connectivity with the Ingliston Park and Ride facility, Edinburgh Airport, the Royal Highland Showgrounds as well as Newbridge and the other development opportunities in West Edinburgh.

163. Further, the promoter has earmarked the whole of the objector’s property as a possible construction compound.  While it is not possible for the promoter to state whether the future contractor is likely to need this entire area as a construction compound, if this eventuality were to arise it would clearly have very serious implications for the objector.

164. The promoter has indicated that, consequently, the likely preferred option for the objector is that the promoter buys her entire house.  This is something that the promoter would be willing to do, and the objector would be compensated according to the statutory provisions applied by the Bill. 

165. If the whole site is not acquired and the objector does not pursue the option of selling her house to the promoter, an alternative course of action is that the promoter carries out mitigation to lessen the likely noise and visual impacts.  There is a commitment by the promoter to provide a barrier or screen at the proposed tram stop in the vicinity of the objector’s house, to minimise noise from the stop. Given the already high ambient noise levels around the objector’s property, the promoter contends that noise from trams is not likely to cause any additional disturbance. Witnesses for the promoter have also expressed a willingness to devise a suitable compromise on the need and likely extent of any woodland planting around the house.

166. The key decision for the Committee, therefore, is whether it accepts the promoter’s contention that the route it favours is the most appropriate one.  The Committee accepts that the promoter’s route is the most suitable and therefore appreciates that the implications for the objector are potentially severe. 

167. However, the Committee is reassured that the promoter is willing to buy the objector’s property and that if it does so, the objector would be appropriately compensated under the relevant statutory provisions applied by the Bill.    If the objector does not ultimately decide to sell her property, the issue instead becomes one of whether the most suitable mitigation is being applied and whether that provides adequate protection.  In this regard, the evidence provided by the promoter indicates that it is willing to meet - if not exceed - the mitigation standards being sought by the objector.  More generally, the Committee is content that any residual effects, after mitigation, would be within acceptable limits and would be offset by the wider benefits of the scheme.     

168. Accordingly, the Committee does not uphold the objection from this objector.

Group 55: Mr A Hamilton & Ms J Sansom22

169. At Preliminary Stage, the Committee agreed, in principle, to the alignment of the tram as set out in the Bill.  This includes taking the tram line to Newbridge.  The objectors have queried the need for this part of the alignment and have raised a number of specific concerns about how the alignment may impact on their property. 

170. Having examined all of the evidence relevant to this objection, the Committee is content with the reasoning of the promoter as to why the proposed alignment is necessary and how the potential impacts can be mitigated so as to bring them within acceptable limits. 

171. The Committee is also content with the promoter’s response to the human rights concerns raised by the objectors.  The compatibility of the Bill with the European Convention on Human Rights was examined in detail at Preliminary Stage when the Committee concluded that, on the face of it, the Bill is compliant with human rights law and that it achieves a fair balance between the competing rights of those adversely affected by the scheme and its benefits to the wider community.  The Committee has not heard any evidence from this objector (or, indeed, any other source) to change its view on this matter.

172. The Committee appreciates the objectors’ concerns that road junction arrangements when the tram is operational may result in an  increase in traffic tailbacks in the vicinity of their house, which may also have noise and safety implications.  However, the promoter’s evidence is sufficiently clear on how the road junction near the objector’s property will operate and that congestion in the area will not be as bad as the objectors have predicted. 

173. Further, the promoter has confirmed that both Her Majesty’s Railway Inspectorate (the body responsible for safety on rail schemes) and the relevant highway authority will be consulted later in the process, to ensure that junction arrangements are safe and suitable. 

174. Clear evidence has also been provided by the promoter that when the tram is operational, the average noise level of the tram will be significantly less than the average noise level of the road traffic.  There will be noise disturbance during construction, but this will be adequately mitigated by the Code of Construction Practice. 

175. The Committee has undertaken a site visit to the objectors’ property and agrees that their garden is of an exceptionally attractive and unusual design.  The Committee is therefore reassured by the promoter’s endeavours to redesign the route of the tram to ensure that it no longer intrudes directly onto the land, as was originally envisaged. 

176. While this also means that no direct impacts will occur on habitats in the property, the Committee shares the objectors’ sense of surprise that in undertaking the detailed environmental impact assessment, the promoter may not have actually visited the objectors’ land.  Given the importance placed by the objectors on the quality and amenity offered by their land, the Committee is pleased to note that there is still scope for pre-construction surveys to be undertaken, if necessary.  This will provide scope for mitigation to be provided if there are changes in protected species within the land in question.  The Committee therefore requires the promoter to undertake such a survey.

177. On balance, the Committee is content that the mitigation proposals agreed by the promoter will bring any residual effects within acceptable limits.  

178. Accordingly, the Committee does not uphold the objection from these objectors.

Group 56: Mr K Wilson

179. The sole issue remaining in dispute between the objector and the promoter in oral evidence, was that of a possible increase in noise levels due to the running of the trams.

180. The Committee was satisfied with the evidence provided by the promoter, that Mr Wilson’s concerns over the likely levels of noise are unlikely to be realised.  Construction noise levels may cause disturbance, particularly if windows are opened, but the noise would, at worst, only be slightly above the existing traffic noise levels. Once the tram is operational, noise from traffic is significantly higher than the predicted tram noise level.  The Committee is therefore content that the objector will not suffer unacceptable impacts.

181. Accordingly, the Committee does not uphold the objection from this objector.

conclusion

182. The Committee has given each objection detailed consideration.  It appears to the Committee that the essence of many objections relates to the compulsory acquisition of the objectors’ land and rights in land and the adverse local environmental impacts that objectors consider they will suffer as an inevitable consequence of the scheme as set out in the Bill.  The objectors’ argument is that these impacts are of such a magnitude that they outweigh the public policy desirability of the scheme or that further steps should be taken by the promoter to address or mitigate these impacts.

183. Having regard to all of the evidence, the Committee is satisfied that the benefits of the scheme outweigh the disbenefits.  It is also satisfied that an appropriate balance has been struck between the rights of those adversely affected by the scheme and its benefits to the wider community.  

184. In particular, the Committee is satisfied that the promoter has taken appropriate steps to minimise (wherever practicable) land take and that land will only be acquired if required for the purposes of the scheme23.

185. By virtue of the statutory provisions applied by the Bill, the Committee is also content that objectors will be appropriately compensated in respect of (in summary) any land compulsorily acquired; where no land is acquired,  for  any reduction in  property value caused by physical factors associated with the scheme; and, for any reduction in property value arising from construction works.

186. Further, the Committee is satisfied that as regards any adverse local environmental impacts, the mitigation measures agreed by the promoter would be sufficient to reduce those impacts to an acceptable degree. 

187. As such, the Committee is satisfied that the provisions of the Bill which impact on objectors’ rights are necessary and proportionate. 

Annexe A

Preliminary Stage report – further information 

1. In its Preliminary Stage report, the Committee requested further information from the promoter, in order to inform the Final Stage debate on the Bill.  These requests can be summarised as follows:

  • the expected impact of the proposed Edinburgh Airport railway link on tram patronage for line two;  
  • the impact on patronage forecasts and the financial case of both tram lines operating as a network;
  • information on the model validation and impact of journey time benefits; and,
  • updated information on the estimate of expenses and funding, funding from private sources and whether the scheme is likely to have phased implementation. 

2. The Committee heard further oral evidence from the promoter on these issues at its meeting of 23 November 2005 (the written responses provided by the promoter can be found here; the Official Report of the Committee’s meeting can be found here).

3. In general, the Committee’s view is that it is not necessary to revisit all the very detailed information on funding it received and considered at Preliminary Stage, where it recommended that the general principles of the Bill be agreed to. 

4. The Committee’s oral questioning focussed on the funding of tram two, given that the Preliminary Stage report highlighted a shortfall in the funding package for line two and a possible delay in constructing the Newbridge to Ingliston part of the line

5. In essence, the updated funding information provided by the promoter demonstrated that there is still an overall funding shortfall for completion of the tram two.  Consequently, it is possible that construction of the Newbridge section will be delayed until sufficient funding is in place. 

6. The Committee was also provided with figures showing that while the capital costs estimates (which included a specified contingency of approximately 10% of base costs) have not changed, inflation has now been factored into these estimates, resulting in a Total Inflated Cost Estimate of £364.8 million.  Further, HM Treasury guidelines have meant that the promoter has also had to provide an indicative figure of £46.4 million for “Optimism Bias”24.

7. While these figures present a rather negative picture of the current funding available for tram line two, the Committee was reassured by the promoter that it has taken a number of steps to address the funding shortfall since the Preliminary Stage report was published.  For example, there could be a phased approach to the construction of the line, whereby the elements that are most likely to be economically sustainable will be constructed first.  In oral evidence, the promoter’s witnesses expressed some confidence that the figure provided for optimism bias would not all be required25.  In terms of the inflated costs of the tram line being met by the Scottish Executive, the principal funder of the project, the Committee notes the promoter’s assertion that there is a reasonable prospect of this being “constructively addressed” 26.   Further, in oral evidence, the promoter reported that it was making good progress in securing the funding sources that it had identified in the written evidence it presented to the Committee.

8. A key aspect determining the success of the tram project will be effective integration between the tram operator and the city’s bus operators.  The Committee is therefore pleased to note that, uniquely in the UK, the promoter has instigated a programme of early involvement of the tram operator (Transdev) and dominant bus operator (Lothian Buses).  The Committee has also been reassured by the promoter’s confidence that competition laws will not threaten the integration arrangements being proposed.     

9. Fundamentally, the funding of the tram line is ultimately a matter for the Scottish Executive.  The Committee notes the confirmation from the promoter that it has provided the Committee with all the required information on funding and expenses, and that final decisions on funding will hinge on the Scottish Executive as the principal funder.


1 In its Preliminary Stage report, the Committee requested further information from the promoter, in order to inform the Final Stage debate on the Bill.  Annexe A examines this request and the information provided in more detail.

2 Noise and Vibration Policy, page 1, November 2005

3 Code of Construction Practice, page 4, 17 May 2005.

4 Op. Cit., page 1

5 Cross, Official Report, column 493, 23 November 2005.

6 Section 6 of the 1845 Act is incorporated into the general law of compulsory purchase by virtue of paragraph 1 of the second schedule to the Acquisition of Land (Authorisation Procedure) (Scotland) Act 1947; however, the 1947 Act does not apply to compulsory purchase made under the Bill. 

7 Contained in Part V, Chapter II of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 (see section 71 of the Bill).

8 Subordinate Legislation Committee, 44th Report, 2004 (Session 2).

9 Thomson, Column 509, Official Report, 28 November 2005. 

10 Oldfield, Official Report, column 275, 22 June 2005

11 Turnbull, Official Report, Column 293, 22 June 2005

12 If the Bill is enacted, the authorised works will (generally speaking) automatically benefit from planning permission.  The design and siting of certain works (for example, buildings and poles to support overhead wires) is, however, still subject to the approval (known as the “prior approval”) of the local planning authority. 

13 Groups 15, 16, 18, 19 and 20.

14 Edgar, Official Report, column 451, 26 October 2005.

15 The limits of deviation form the boundaries of the land that can be used to build the tram infrastructure. 

16 Witness statement from Gavin Murray, page 3.

17 Scottish Executive Development Department Circular 38/1992. 

18 “The “High Level Option” is where the tramway runs immediately adjacent to the heavy rail lines at the same level.  It incorporates a grade separated crossing on Balgreen Road, and therefore has zero impact with road based traffic.” Witness statement from Alisdair Sim, page 4.

19 Smart, Column 405, Official Report, 28 September 2005.

20 The Land Compensation (Scotland) Acts 1963 and 1973.

21 Hyde, Column 390, Official Report, 21 September 2005.

22 Jeremy Purvis MSP was unable to attend the meeting at which oral evidence on this objection was taken.  In accordance with Standing Order rule 9A.5.6, Mr Purvis did not take part in the Committee’s discussion of the merit of this objection, as not all persons who gave evidence at the meeting agreed to him reading the Official Report instead.

23 In accordance with section 22 of the Bill.

24 The promoter has stated that “Under HM Treasury guidelines the Scottish Executive must consider the impact of ‘Optimism Bias’ on required funding. This requirement has arisen from a historical trend of underestimating the cost of public works in the UK. Calculated in accordance with the HM Treasury guidelines optimism bias would be 24% on the Tram project and so the incremental optimism bias (i.e. in addition to tie’s specified contingency of 10%) is 14% of the base costs excluding specified contingency.”

25 Cross, Official Report, Column 488, 23 November 2005.

26 Edinburgh Tram Progress Report, November 2005, tie, paragraph 3.2.


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