Forth Bridges Forum - Meeting 42 - Minutes - 25 January 2022


  • Scott Lees (SL) Vice Chair - Transport Scotland
  • Mike Dineen (MD) - 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
  • Chris Tracey (CT) - BEAR Scotland
  • Joanna Buggy (JB) - BEAR Scotland -
  • Madi Jones (MD) - BEAR Scotland
  • Gillian Laurie (GL) Secretariat - BEAR Scotland

Welcome & Introductions

SL welcomed all attendees to Meeting 42 of the Forth Bridges Forum.

Apologies, Minutes of Previous Meeting and Actions

Apologies received from:

  • Hugh Gillies
  • Mark Dunlop
  • Keavy O’Neill - Transport Scotland
  • Caroline Warburton – Visit Scotland
  • Elin Williamson, Paul Lawrence – CEC

Minutes of previous meeting held on 26 October 2021 were agreed and subsequently published.

Action points were reviewed and updated as follows:

  • Action 21.2 – Events Planner - Open action
  • Action 37.1 & 40.5 – WH Co-ordinator Post – Ongoing – See items 5.7 & 9.2
  • Action 37.6 – FB Website development – Ongoing – See item 4.2
  • Action 40.6 – Public Meetings / Newsletter – Ongoing – See item 6.4
  • Action 40.8 – Management of future FB website - Ongoing
  • Action 40.10 – Banner replacement at BEAR Compound – Ongoing


Covid restrictions are easing. Hoping to have the Contact and Education Centre reopening soon and resuming forum meetings in person.

Tourism Update - Update by KS

Social media promotion of Forth Bridges on Facebook and Instagram has been well received.

Forth Bridges website refocussing on tourism is out to tender with deadline end of this week, hopeful it will go live end June 2022.

Signage strategy – Tourism group approved phase one, 16 signs planned dependant on cost. Many partners are involved including CEC, Fife Council and as signs will be on FRB - Transport Scotland and BEAR Scotland will be involved.

KS attends local community council meetings and recently delivered a talk for Queensferry Heritage Trust.

Scotland’s UNESCO trail was launched in October 2021. The trail connects 13 UNESCO designations.

Visit Scotland’s theme for 2022 is the Year of Stories. Events funding is available.

Visit Scotland’s Great Days Out scheme will end 18th February, local attractions participating are Forth Boat Tours and Deep Sea World.

Cruise Liners to South Queensferry and Rosyth are scheduled for 2022. Will be added to events list when confirmed.

Michael Portillo’s Great Coastal Railway Journeys will feature the Forth Bridge on BBC2 tonight.

World Heritage Management Group Update - Update by MO

UNESCO trail – any significant community events relating to World Heritage site, pass to MO

USA’s Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland visited Forth Bridge in November 2021 and President Biden also visited as he travelled to Edinburgh Airport after COP26.

The recent departure of Ian Heigh from Network Rail was raised and his knowledge and support with Forth Bridge Forum will be missed. However he is keen to maintain contact with the forum.

The Collections group and associated research is going well and producing good material for Year of Stories and more generally for the website.

North Queensferry, concern about the loss of the Albert Hotel and lack of public toilets remain an issue however there are potential plans for toilets.

Letter received from Keith Giblett, QDCC inviting Transport Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland and City of Edinburgh Council to discuss items from the Management Plan relating to infrastructure that have not been completed or addressed. MO collating a response and arranging a meeting with Keith Giblett.

Appointment of World Heritage Coordinator – Will need to do some preparation for the future postholder. While this post remains unfilled the Management Plan refresh continues to be delayed, but progress appears to being made with Network Rail.

World Heritage Day is on 18th April. Will focus on local stories with a different perspective i.e. from the water, possibly also animal related. KS suggested RNLI in South Queensferry, Forth Boat Tours, JA suggested Calypso Marine and Briggs Marine. Stories will be shared on social media.

Forth Bridges Forum

GL continues to maintain register/events log. Events should grow as COVID-19 restrictions ease.

Three Forth Bridges Forum Newsletters have been issued while restrictions continue to prevent public meetings. Dec 2020, July 2021, Dec 2021. These newsletters have been well received and may potentially continue alongside public meetings.

SD asked about newsletter stats. JB advised that stats are not currently available as BIG holds the subscriber list, so newsletters have been issued as a PDF that cannot yield data. SL asked that we look at solving this.

Action: CW investigate subscriber list with BIG Partnership

JB added that public meetings give people the opportunity to be heard and listened to. MO added that the appetite for public meetings is high within the local communities. SL agreed that public meetings should recommence potentially May/June 2022 as long as restrictions allow, CEC is available and there is information to share.

Queensferry Crossing and Forth Road Bridge Update - Update by AT

FRB – during the winter period no carriageway closures planned. This is to allow full capacity on FRB in the event of a diversion from QC due to ice accretion.

FRB – single carriageway closures planned for April to complete the viaduct resurfacing, a contraflow will be in operation.

FRB –a full closure is required for a gantry lift around mid-summer. This closure will be for a short period, during daylight hours and planned around tides.

QC – a diversion trial was carried out in Dec 2021 using north and south slip roads to FRB to minimise time diverted traffic would need travel via Kincardine. This trial went well and identified that road markings around Ferrytoll should be improved. BEAR Scotland are progressing this scheme. Further trial planned for mid-February. South bound traffic will use slip to Ferrytoll, north bound traffic would use Builyeon Road. The time taken to establish the diversion route was approx. 2.5 hours compared to 5 hours required to establish the diversion route when using crossovers. The number of cones, signs and implanting restrictions east/westbound at Ferrytoll makes for a lengthy process. Road markings improvements at Ferrytoll should help facilitate traffic movements and help reduce journey times.

QC – early progress has been made on automated barriers for crossover points. This should improve the time to implement diversion. Following design, procurement and construction this may be done by end of 2022

QC – ice accretion lab trials in France went well. The same climatic conditions that allow ice to accrete were created and tests conducted on clean, dirty and abrased cable stays. De-icing compounds trialled on stays and tower section. Early reports have been received and are being analysed.

KS suggested cycle / pedestrian markings on footpath north and south on to FRB could do with improvements. CT advised footpath refurbishments will be done in Spring, will look at this.

Communications Group - Update by JB

Forth Bridges Website – KS provided updated, see item 4.2.

Web analysis report for 2021 was reviewed, spikes noticeable all weather related. Comparison of 2020 / 2021 reviewed. Web analysis reports will revert to quarterly.

GL provided an update of enquiries received via FBF mailbox. 51 were received in 2021, these were mainly for BEAR to respond and covered topics such as requests to light up bridges, historic enquiries, ice on QC and queries on use of FRB. Some content for such requests can be added to website and shared on social media i.e. FRB / QC users guide.

Network Rail Update - SD provided an update

Acknowledged the departure of Ian Heigh in December 2021.

World Heritage Coordinator post – a meeting is arranged with Network Rail’s Head of Engineering & Asset Manager, Alastair Macfarlane and HES at the end February 2022. As a short term measure some actions from the management plan may be taken inhouse by Network Rail’s Asset team. Alex will be invited to the next forum meeting to provide an update.

Forth Bridge Experience – Application was not submitted at end of 2021 but is due for submission imminently. SD will update FBF Management Group.

Post meeting note: planning application for the FBE was submitted at the end of January 2022.


Graeme Malcolm will retire from West Lothian Council in March. S Lees thanked Graeme for his work within the forum.

MD asked CT about visits up FRB and QC. This can be done with appropriate planning. Will discuss separately.

SD added the hoist for visitors to FB tower is to be replaced. Visitor requests became quite overwhelming. MO asked about Barnardo’s Forth Bridge events. These events seem to have come to an end due to COVID-19; they are labour intensive and there would be a clash with charity and commercial when FB Experience is live.

MD advised camera on FRB north tower will be active and shared on website in the next few months.

Barbara Henderson, author of forthcoming Rivet Boy is proposing a year writer in residence arrangement. The proposal has been forwarded to Transport Scotland for consideration.

Date of next meeting: 26 April 2022.

Published Date 11 May 2022 Type Mode of transport