Forth Bridges Forum - Meeting 45 - Minutes - 25 October 2022

Forth Bridges Forum logo


  • Mike Dineen (MD) - Chair - Transport Scotland
  • John Andrew (JA) - ICE Consultant / Transport Scotland
  • Miles Oglethorpe (MO) - Historic Environment Scotland
  • Ken Gourlay (KG) - Fife Council
  • Elin Williamson (EW) - City of Edinburgh Council
  • Stewart Lothian (SLO) - Network Rail
  • Joanna Buggy (JB) - BEAR Scotland       
  • David Bishop (DB) - BEAR Scotland
  • Gillian Laurie (GL) - Secretariat - BEAR Scotland

Welcome and Introductions

MD welcomed all to meeting 45 of the Forth Bridges Forum.

Apologies, Minutes of Previous Meeting and Actions

Apologies received from:

  • Stewart Leggett
  • Scott Lees
  • Mark Dunlop
  • Keavy O’Neill - Transport Scotland
  • Karen Stewart – Fife Council
  • Caroline Warburton – Visit Scotland
  • Chris Waite, Andy Thompson – BEAR Scotland
  • Sarah Duignan – Network Rail
  • Paul Lawrence – CEC

Minutes of previous meeting held on 26 July 2022 were agreed and subsequently published.

Action points were reviewed and updated as follows:

  • Action 43.5 – WH Coordinator MOU – Ongoing – See item 4.2
  • Action 43.10 – FBF ministerial briefing – Ongoing
  • Action 44.8 – Benchmarking for FB exp - Ongoing

 Tourism Update – Update provided by KS, update by MD

Signage progressing well. Signs finalised and manufactured and awaiting installation.  Steelwork in place. FRB signs were due w/c 17 October, but DB advised not yet received.  When received will be installed as soon as possible, install would take around 5 days. 

Action: MD to check on status of delivery for signs for FRB.

Forth Bridges Trail launch potential date 15th November 2022.

Action: MD to provide response on Tourism Minister availability for launch.

Forth Bridges website progressing well, on track for launch 15 KS discussing appropriate level of launch with Visit Scotland.

Social media update – growth trend continuing on both Facebook and Instagram audience reach with Facebook the dominant channel. Arial photos still proving most popular.

There will be a celebration of Scotland’s UNESCO Trail at the Scottish Parliament on 15th December, to be incorporated into Visit Scotland’s annual parliamentary reception. Meanwhile, having led the project from the outset (at the direction of Scottish Ministers), Visit Scotland is stepping down from overseeing with Trail, which will now be overseen by the UK UNESCO Commission (chaired by Anne Anderson, Vice Principal of Glasgow University). Its next meeting will be on 18 January 2023.

World Heritage Management Group Update – Update by MO

MO wishes to congratulate KS on all Tourism work.

World Heritage Coordinator and the development of Memorandum of Understanding formalising HES support for the Forum ongoing. Target dates for WH Coordinator role has passed.  Stewart Lothian raising again with Alastair McFarlane and dialogue with HES to continue. UNESCO periodic reporting requirements in Nov 2022.

Management Plan has notionally expired however many actions are being undertaken, i.e signage. Management Plan will be addressed when Coordinator is appointed.

The UK is included within UNESCO’s latest cycle of World Heritage Site period reporting. This is a time-consuming process, and in the absence of a World Heritage Coordinator, Mark Watson of HES will cover the Forth Bridge in the coming months.  

Writer in Residence, Barbara Henderson attended Barnardo’s event.

Forth Bridges Forum Update – Update by MD

Next public meeting planned for Tuesday 6th December 2022. GL seeking confirmation from all speakers.  C Tracey, BEAR Scotland, has confirmed.  SL will confirm who may deliver presentation for Network Rail.  KS hopefully give tourism presentation.  No requirements this time for presentation from HES.

ACTION: GL seek speakers confirmation asap then publicise event.

Engagement with QDCC – first WH infrastructure meeting was held 22 June 2022 with community councils and local authorities attending, as well as other key stakeholders. It was a very positive meeting, and more will follow. A key benefit being input into the refreshed World Heritage Management Plan. However, MO is holding off arranging a further meeting until the position of World Heritage Coordinator has been resolved, together with the means of taking forward the new Management Plan.

MD advised QDCC held first in-person Community Council meeting in Contact and Education Centre on 24 October 2022 for which Keith Giblett expressed his thanks. Highly likely that this will be repeated.  Also, a number of requests in pipeline to use this space for wider community.

BEAR Scotland’s compound at FRB car park, local community feels that the compound and prominent steelwork within it is unsightly and wishes it relocated. DB advised that this compound is a necessity. DB or CT to attend next WHMG meeting to provide clear reasons for compound and its location.  

JB added that residents in new builds behind compound may complain about noise within compound. Potentially do proactive work with housebuilders  i.e. welcome pack to new homeowners providing information that this area is used for continual maintenance of major structures.

ACTION: JB to collate proactive communication package with future residents.

Telescope – Microchips difficult to procure. Angle of limitation with houses close to telescope under consideration.  Due to these points, holding off installing telescope until Easter 2023.  Consider this to be included in future ‘welcome pack’ to all new residents.

Queensferry Crossing and Forth Road Bridge – Update by DB

Queensferry Crossing cable cleaning to mitigate ice accretion ongoing with completion expected mid-November. Speed limit will be reduced to 50mph during periods of overhead working.

Four weeks of routine maintenance works required, during this time QC lights will remain continuously on.

Detailed design completed for automated barriers to allow access to FRB during period of prolonged ice accretion. Tenders due back December ‘22.  Fabrication of barriers going well although global shortage of microchips proving problematic.  Unlikely to have all in place by this winter. When works do go ahead, some delays to traffic expected.

FRB resurfacing works nearing completion, target date 7th

FRB underdeck access walkways refurbishment and replacement works continuing

FRB Hanger replacement trial complete.

Communications Group – Update by JB

Forth Bridges website – KS/MD provided update, see item 3.3

Quarterly Forth Bridges website analysis show spike on 11 September 2022 relating to HRH Queen Elizabeth hearse travelling to Edinburgh from Balmoral.

Continued steady use of Forth Bridges website with 45k UK visitors followed by 6.3k from USA. Expectation that this will change when tourism focused website launched

GL shared that enquiries via FBF mailbox for last quarter is 20 with majority for BEAR Scotland.

Doors Open Day held by BEAR Scotland on 24 September was successful with positive feedback received. 320 people were given minibus tours of the bridges and £2,061 was raised for Scottish SPCA.  This event will likely be repeated in 2023.

Network Rail - Update by SL

North viaduct works should be complete end November 2022. Investigations ongoing following reports of dirty water on residents’ properties.

General steelwork repairs ongoing on various parts of Forth Bridge.

Electrification works in Fife and South of Forth progressing Forth Bridge to be done at a later phase. Some components will be erected on bridge to monitor performance in advance of permanent installation. Currently going through consultation and planning. MO added that this has to be presented to UNESCO. SL will make planning aware.

Any other business

MO recently visited Quebec Bridge and shared information on HRCSA coating technology. TR2200-HRCSA_Penetrant_and_Sealer.pdf (

Date of next meeting: 24 January 2023

Group are keen to have the meeting in person at the CEC.

Published Date 6 Feb 2023 Type Mode of transport