Council to consider first stage of tram extension project

Councillors are set to discuss proposals to proceed to the first stage of extending the Edinburgh tram line to Newhaven.

If recommendations are agreed, a nine-month period of project development will commence, including the beginning of procurement processes for external support and site investigation.

Once the first stage is complete, a report will be brought back to Council recommending the way forward. If Councillors agree to continue with the extension a second stage, scheduled to take 21 months and costing approximately £8.3m, will include further site investigation and working with the Council’s advisors in carrying out procurement and enabling works.

While the Council is yet to identify specific resources to fund the borrowing costs required for the project, the business case concludes that these can be funded from wider Public Transport revenues with no impact on Council revenue budgets in the short, medium and long term.

Council Leader, Councillor Andrew Burns, said: “The updated Outline Business Case provides further justification for bringing the tram to Leith, clearly demonstrating the social and economic impact the extension could have on this key area of the city.

“This first stage of project development for the extension will allow us to take another step towards achieving this. A significant period of work will ensure robust governance, allowing financial evaluation and risk analysis to be carried out.

“By obtaining funding for these initial stages from the city’s Public Transport revenues, we are satisfied there will be no impact on Council budgets in the short or long term.”

In June, Councillors considered the emerging conclusions of the draft Outline Business Case, which proposed a formal market consultation and further, detailed analysis of project finances before any decision was made.

A report, to be heard by Council on Thursday, 19 November, details the findings of the Outline Business Case for the extension to Leith.

It is recommended that Councillors approve, in principle, extending the tram to Newhaven over alternative options to end the line at Ocean Terminal, the foot of Leith Walk or MacDonald Road.

The Outline Business Case, based on a formal market consultation process, audit of the financial model and identification of funding options, concludes that extending the existing tram line to Newhaven will boost the city’s economy while delivering a range of wider benefits in relation to employment, population growth and social inclusion. 

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