- Scott Lees (SL) Vice Chair - Transport Scotland
- John Andrew (JA) - ICE Consultant/Transport Scotland
- Sarah Duignan (SD) - Network Rail
- Miles Oglethorpe (MO) - Historic Environment Scotland
- Rebecca Jones (RJ) - Historic Environment Scotland
- Karen Stewart (KS) - Forth Bridges Area Tourism Strategy Manager
- Ken Gourlay (KG) - Fife Council
- Graeme Malcolm (GM) - West Lothian Council
- Andy Thompson (AT) - BEAR Scotland
- Chris Waite (CW) - BEAR Scotland
- Gillian Laurie (GL) Secretariat - BEAR Scotland
Welcome & Introductions
SL welcomed all attendees to Meeting 41 of the Forth Bridges Forum.
Apologies, Minutes of Previous Meeting and Actions
Apologies received from:
- Hugh Gillies - Transport Scotland
- Michael Dineen - Transport Scotland
- Mark Dunlop - Transport Scotland
- Keavy O’Neill - Transport Scotland
- Caroline Warburton - Visit Scotland
- Elin Williamson - Visit Scotland
- Paul Lawrence - City of Edinburgh Council
Minutes of previous meeting held on 3 August 2021 were agreed and subsequently published.
Action points were reviewed and updated as follows:
- Action 21.2 – Events Planner - Open action
- Action 36.4 – Zip Line Event - On hold
- Action 37.1 – WH Co-ordinator - Ongoing
- Action 37.6 – FB Website - Ongoing
- Action 40.6 – Public Meetings/Newsletter - Ongoing
- Action 40.8 – Website budget - Closed
- Action 40.10 – Banner replacement at BEAR Compound - Ongoing
Action 36.4 - Zipline event - Princes Trust event will not take place in 2022, removed from actions list.
Action 37.6 - Forth Bridges Website - See item 8.2
Action 38.1 - Public meeting/Newsletter - See item 6.1
Action 40.8 - Budget identified - action closed
Covid restrictions continue to impact services we all provide. Service impacts also due to labour and HGV driver shortage, supply chain shortages, materials price rises and freight and shipping issues. These impacts are being monitored. Many partners continue to work from home although some return to the office noted.
Tourism Update - Update by KS
Tourism signage strategy is progressing. This is currently with Fife Council Procurement. Sessions with signage manufacturers will be arranged. Hopefully signage will be complete around Easter 2022.
Forth Bridges Instagram and Facebook sites go live soon.
Scotland’s UNESCO trail was launched on 15 October 2021 in Fife. The trail connects 13 UNESCO designations (including World Heritage) across Scotland and aims to increase the value of tourism to these sites by encouraging tourists to stay longer and spend locally. Businesses will work towards green tourism certification.
2022 theme is The Year of Stories.
Visit Scotland’s campaign Scotland’s Calling was launched on 30 September 2021. This campaign is designed to support the recovery of Scotland‘s tourism industry especially the international market.
World Heritage Management Group Update - Update by MO
Appointment of World Heritage Coordinator has not progressed. SD continues to try to push this within Network Rail. This post is key to the Management Plan refresh, so the plan refresh remains on hold. An alternative solution will have to be agreed if there continues to be no progress with post.
MOU is also on hold, dependant on WH Coordinator post.
MO advised HES paperwork for Forum grant will soon be sent to Transport Scotland.
Forth Bridge Records/Collections group is going well and will meet again on 1 November. Good research by Frank Hay, the Briggers, MO added the work will be shared on Forth Bridges website.
EXPO 2020 - MO hoping Forth Bridges digital content will be included in this event, together with Scotland’s UNESCO Trail.
MO is in possession of pre ordered Bank of Scotland polymer notes featuring Forth Bridge and limited-edition commemorative notes featuring Queensferry Crossing. He will hold these until they can be issued in person. These are no longer publicly available (the Museum of Money’s stock is exhausted).
Forth Bridges Forum
Events continue to be minimal; GL continues to maintain register.
Two Forth Bridges Forum Newsletters have been issued while restrictions continue to prevent public meetings. First newsletter issued Dec 2020, second newsletter July 2021. These newsletters will continue until public meetings are able to resume. Third newsletter suggested items include:
- Tourism Update
- Forth Bridge Experience
- FRB Expansion Joint Replacement project
- QC Cable Cleaning
- UNESCO trail
- Forth Bridge Lego
This newsletter will be prepared and issued Nov/Dec 2021.
Group extends congratulations to Michael Dineen for his work with the Forth Bridge Lego model, further discussion needed for future location of the model as it has much wider potential. JA would like this to be kept at Contact and Education Centre.
SL to contact Elaine Barrie to discuss Education Programme resuming at Contact and Education Centre. SL hopes this may resume within 2022.
JA asked if access to CEC may be allowed to complete the work within the Exhibition room. SL confirmed the building currently has restricted access however it is hoped this may change 2022.
Queensferry Crossing and Forth Road Bridge Update - Update by AT
FRB Expansion Joint Replacement project ongoing. Substantially complete and due to be finished mid-November.
Queensferry Crossing - BEAR Scotland continue work on North Tower cable cleaning trial in relation to ice build-up issues. This should be complete by end October. Weather has been a challenge with this trial. Work is ongoing to install thermal cameras at the top of QC towers.
QC ice accretion lab trials are being undertaken to try to mitigate and identify possible solutions.
BEAR Scotland has appointed new FRB Bridges Manager and Network Bridges Manager.
Communications Group - Update by CW
Forth Bridges Website - This has been under review since the Operating Company contract changed in August 2020. Following the review and an audit by Visit Scotland a strategy to improve the prominence and accessibility of Forth Bridge Tourism matters has been agreed.
A brief has been developed and budget identified to undertake the work. Hopeful to retain web development agency and procure creative agency for new ‘front end’ with exciting, new, shareable content. KS advised that she requested procurement assistance from Fife Council. SL offered evaluation support if required.
Web analysis report for Q3 was reviewed, spike in July due to weekend closure of FRB due to Expansion Joint Replacement Project.
CW added that winter and weather create spikes in demand, the existing website handles this well and so new website also will need to cope with spikes.#
Network Rail Update - SD provided an update
Forth Bridge Experience - Project team continue to work on Forth Bridge Experience proposal. Planning application will be submitted mid to late November.
Network Rail recently attended a North Queensferry Community Council meeting and provided an update on FB Experience proposals.
Date of next meeting: January 2022 TBC