Green light for tram works as new agreement resolves dispute

Work is to begin again on completing Edinburgh’s tram line.

The news follows the signing of a settlement agreement between the City of Edinburgh Council and the consortium contracted to build the tram line from the Airport to York Place. The deal was confirmed today (15 September) after negotiating teams worked through the night to finalise and sign the paperwork.

Intensive negotiations have been underway since both parties entered into a formal mediation process in March resulting from a contractual dispute. Greater certainty on the funding and the route were required to conclude those discussions and this was provided by the Council decision of 2 September.

Since then, the Council has been working with Bilfinger Berger, Siemens and CAF to agree the detail of the settlement which allows the dispute to be resolved by the new deadline of 14 September. Remedial work on Princes Street is already scheduled to begin this month while the timetable for other works will be announced shortly.

Council Leader Cllr Jenny Dawe said: "This is an important milestone in restoring our vision for a clean, green and efficient transport system in Scotland's capital. It is essential for everyone who lives or works in Edinburgh that the project gets going now as soon as possible. I am pleased with the spirit of cooperation shown by all parties and grateful for the hard work that has gone into taking us forward."

Council Chief Executive Sue Bruce said: "An incredible amount of effort has gone into addressing all the issues that have made this such a challenging project. However, the real work begins now on getting the line finished and the trams running. In doing so, I'm very pleased to welcome Transport Scotland 's involvement which will see our staff and theirs working closely together as we look to enter a new phase in the project's history. As with any major construction project I'm sure we will have hurdles to overcome, but our new governance and operational arrangements are aimed at dealing with those as efficiently as possible."

The detailed terms of the agreement are commercially confidential. The revised timescale for completing the line from Edinburgh Airport to York Place is summer 2014.

Improved governance arrangements are being put in place, including an all-party political oversight group. Turner and Townsend are currently in the process of being appointed as the Council's project management consultants.

Transport Initiatives Edinburgh (TIE) will cease to exist as an operating entity with its previous functions executed by the Council supported by Turner and Townsend.

Notes to editors

For details of Transport Scotland 's involvement in the Edinburgh Trams project see its news release and the Council's additional comment.

For background details, including funding and revised governance arrangements, see the following reports to Council:

The following news releases also provide background:

Details for the support for local businesses during the works are contained in the report to Policy and Strategy committee of 6 September.

Details of the forthcoming diversions on Princes Street are in this news release.

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