Hugh Gillies (HG) Chair - Transport Scotland
Scott Lees (SL) Vice Chair - Transport Scotland
Michael Dineen (MD) - Transport Scotland
John Andrew (JA) - ICE Consultant / Transport Scotland
Sarah Duignan (SD) - Network Rail
Caroline Warburton (CWar) - Visit Scotland
Miles Oglethorpe (MO) - HES
Rebecca Jones (RJ) - HES
Karen Stewart (KS) - Forth Bridges Area Tourism Strategy Manager
Ken Gourlay (KG) - Fife Council
Elin Williamson (EW) - City of Edinburgh Council
Graeme Malcolm (GM) - West Lothian Council
Andy Thomson (AT) - BEAR Scotland
Joanna Buggy (JB) - BEAR Scotland
Gillian Laurie (GL) Secretariat - BEAR Scotland
Welcome and Introductions
HG welcomed all attendees to Meeting 39 of the Forth Bridges Forum. Introductions were done.
Apologies, Minutes of Previous Meeting and Actions
Apologies received from: - John Andrew Mark Dunlop, Keavy O’Neill – Transport Scotland, Derek Christie – Network Rail, Chris Waite – BEAR Scotland, Janice MacGregor – Visit Scotland; Paul Lawrence – CEC.
Minutes of previous meeting held on 26 January 2021 were agreed with one amendment and subsequently published.
Action points were reviewed and updated as follows:
- Action 21.2 – Open action
- Action 36.4 – On hold
- Action 37.1 – Ongoing
- Action 37.3 – Ongoing
- Action 37.6 – Ongoing
- Action 38.1 – Ongoing
- Action 38.2 - Closed
Action 36.4 – Zipline event – on hold
Action 37.1 – WH Coordinator post: SD taking forward with MO. HG asked to be kept updated with progress
Action 37.3 – Lighting Proposal Paper – CW found no papers on proposal from Amey. HG and MD to meet to discuss.
Action 37.6 – Forth Bridges Website – Awaiting feedback to analysis from Visit Scotland.
Action 38.1 – Public meeting options – Options discussed, MD and GL to take forward. Items to present, structured agenda prepared and questions to be received in advance.
Action 38.2 – SD provides updates on FB Experience to Transport Scotland.
COVID-19 - Update by HG
As covid restrictions start to ease, Transport Scotland are in regular contact with BEAR Scotland as SQ, NQ and Fife get busier.
Visitor Management Strategy Group chaired by Visit Scotland works with partnerships throughout the country.
Tourism Update – Update by KS
KS has been virtually attending community council meetings and other heritage and interest groups. Also engaging with local Businesses.
Signage Strategy – KS and MD met with Heritage Lottery Fund who advised that funding would not be available for signage. KS advised that consideration is now being given to prioritise signs with a view to installing them in phases. A means of funding is also being explored.
A Forth Bridges Trail was proposed with KS to offer further details including costs.
Forever Edinburgh recently had spotlight on Queensferry with local businesses offering prizes.
Transport for Edinburgh has confirmed that the Just Eat Bikes scheme will not be continuing in South Queensferry and will be removed very soon. This is due to a drop in usage which they believe to be a consequence of the pandemic.
A Tourism Infrastructure Assessment is being developed.
CWar advised that the UNESCO Trail project is ongoing which would celebrate different UNESCO designations in Scotland. Meeting was held with Visit Scotland and HES. With regards to Forth Bridge there would be a large campaign for this attraction and the local area. MO will share Power point presentation from the meeting. MO added that it is hoped that the UNESCO Trail will be promoted at COP26 with Forth Bridge being showcased as symbol of sustainable transport.
World Heritage Management Group Update – Update by MO
Appointment of World Heritage Coordinator has started to progress. This post is key to the Management Plan refresh.
A Forth Bridge Records / Collections group has been formed. Much research has taken place and MO wished to thank Mark Watson, John Andrew and Frank Hay.
Forth Bridges Forum
AT gave an update on ice accretion events on Queensferry Crossing over the winter. 60 ice accretion patrols took place and 2 events. This has been a severe winter.
AT provided an update on FRB works. Expansion joint replacement project ongoing.
AT advised the new contract handover has been relatively smooth with remote working due to covid being the biggest challenge.
MD advised the fundraising item had been added to the agenda pre covid. When restrictions allow, we will promote fundraising Opportunities.
One Year after Opening Evaluation Report was published in December 2020.
GM advised on Newton Community Council recent meeting over volume and speeds of traffic through the village. Fiona Hyslop and Transport Scotland attended. West Lothian Council to conduct traffic data collection and expect report back to committee mid June. HG asked that Transport Scotland receive WLC report.
ACTION: GM pass traffic data analysis report to Transport Scotland
HG advised there is an Initiative ongoing looking at vulnerable persons self-harm on transport infrastructure. A Vulnerable Persons Working Group has been set up.
Communications Group – Update by JB
Forth Bridges Website - C Waite continuing discussions with CWar and KS. BEAR Scotland will continue to request stories monthly to keep the website up to date.
Web analysis report for Q1 was reviewed, notable spikes relating to ice accretion events. Website coped well with this demand and provided consistent service. Without these events the main reason this website is viewed is for tourism content.
Diversion Route in the event of QC closure – BEAR Scotland have developed a video to explain why the diversion to FRB takes time to implement.
Network Rail Update – SD provided an update
World Heritage Coordinator post – ongoing liaison with HES with positive steps taken to appoint someone.
Forth Bridge Experience – Project on hold due to higher than anticipated costs. Project development works and new design concepts to reduce costs are under consideration.
Brand identity for Forth Bridge has been paused until clarity received over FB Experience.
Any Other Business
MD advised planning consent received from City of Edinburgh Council for twin telescope at viewing platform. MD and SL considering cost. It would be expected that costs would be paid back over two seasons.
Still awaiting decision on digital screen for front of CEC building.
MO reminded group of formal UNESCO branding containing Forth Bridge which can be used and promoted particularly with signing. However, it can only be used for non-commercial purposes.
GL gave an overview of emails received via FBF Mailbox. The majority of these are dealt with by BEAR Scotland.
Date of next meeting – 13 July 2021