Forth Bridges Forum - Meeting 49 - Minutes - 24 October 2023

Forth Bridges Forum logo


  • Jonny Moran (JM) - Transport Scotland   
  • John Andrew (JA) - Transport Scotland
  • Karen Stewart (KS) - FB Area Tourism Strategy Manager
  • Sarah Duignan (SD) - Network Rail
  • Mark Watson (MW) - Historic Environment Scotland
  • Gillian Laurie (GL) - Secretariat - BEAR Scotland        
  • Chris Tracey (CT) - BEAR Scotland
  • Joana Buggy (JB) - Online - BEAR Scotland
  • Jane Findlay (JF) - Online -  Fife Council  
  • Stewart Lothian (SL) - Online - Network Rail
  • Ruth White (RW) - Online (part) - City of Edinburgh Council

Welcome and Introductions

JM welcomed all to meeting 49 of the Forth Bridges Forum.

Apologies, Minutes of Previous Meeting and Actions

Apologies received from:

  • Mercy Muthegu - Transport Scotland
  • Keavy O’Neill - Transport Scotland
  • Chris Waite - BEAR Scotland
  • Paul Lawrence - City of Edinburgh Council
  • Elin Willamson - City of Edinburgh Council
  • Miles Oglethorpe - Historic Environment Scotland
  • James Bruhn - Historic Environment Scotland
  • John Mitchell - Fife Council
  • Caroline Warburton - Visit Scotland
  • Neil Christie - Visit Scotland
  • Alasdair McFarlane - Network Rail

Minutes of previous meeting held on 25 July 2023 were agreed with one amendment and subsequently published.

Action points were reviewed and updated as follows:

  • Action 43 5 - MOU for WH Coordinator Role - Ongoing
  • Action 47 2.4 - FBF ministerial briefing - Ongoing
  • Action 47 3.12 - Panoramic camera - Closed
  • Action 47 5.1 - Terms of Reference review - Ongoing
  • Action 47 7.4 - Anniversaries group - Ongoing
  • Action 48 4.6 - CEC use - Ongoing
  • Action 48.5.3 - Subscribers - Closed

Tourism Update - Update by KS

KS provided presentation of tourism work given to group. 

Phase one signage complete.  Aiming to complete remaining signage strategy and installation by late summer 2024.

Viewpoint signage, BEAR Scotland installing. TS agree budget for investigatory works and confirm with KS.

Signs by Jacobs ladder public path - KS will contact landowner (Roseberry Estates) to advise signs will be erected.   

Proposed brown tourist sign - Letter of accreditation supplied to Transport Scotland from Visit Scotland. Transport Scotland applying to City of Edinburgh Council. Budget discussion ongoing.

Social media update - Designline Creative appointed for tourism blog and social media management from 16 October 2023 for six months. 3.4m Facebook reach, 25k Instagram reach.

Writer in Residence, Barbara Henderson has ended. Proved very successful, two books, The Rivet Boy and Made From Girders and 11 blogs over the residency. JM advised Made From Girders recently received coverage on show ‘Off The Ball’.

Two visits recently to CEC, World Heritage UK on 2 October 2023 and Historic Environment Scotland Board and Leadership team on 5 October 2023.

World Heritage Management Group Update

World Heritage Coordinator role – Fife Council will host position.  SL advised that MOU and funding with Alasdair McFarlane, Network Rail. 

Action - Transport Scotland arrange internal meeting early December to review position.

Action - Network Rail to provide feedback on MOU.

Forth Bridges Forum Update

Ministerial Briefing - When Terms of Reference is agreed this will form the briefing note.

Amended Terms of Reference for the Forum shared to members 23 October 2023.  

Action - ALL - further comments and feedback from all organisations to be returned to GL by 15 November 2023. 

Action - JA to contact West Lothian Council to ensure a senior official is included in all forum meetings.

MW raised that local community councils wish to be included on the forum.  KS meets regularly with local community councils, BEAR Scotland are arranging an update meeting with QDCC and Network Rail continue to consult with both North and South communities on FB works.  JM advised that the forum is a strategic overview and will provide lines for MW to pass back to NQCC and QDCC.

JA continues to seek clarification on funding of forum.

FRB 60th anniversary - JA arranging meeting with TS, BEAR, Fife Council and CEC mid November.

The panoramic camera on CEC has been replaced and is operational. Discussions continue over potential camera on FRB main tower.

Use of CEC - JA investigating.

Telescope - JA has not managed to meet with Ambassador Homes representatives to review limiting requirements for telescope. Therefore, the telescope installation is currently on hold until this is agreed.

Queensferry Crossing and Forth Road Bridge - Update by CT

Forth Road Bridge – Three schemes below deck on FRB – Two will be completed in December.  West footpath remains closed due to these works.  Discussions ongoing regarding opening of both footpaths, (welfare implications).

Ice accretion monitoring starts early November.

Queensferry Crossing automated barriers installation substantially complete. Full QC closure with traffic diverted to FRB planned for 4th and 5th November 2023. Red X overhead gantries will be used to stop the traffic. BEAR liaising with Police Scotland. There will be some traffic management, enhanced signage and mobile VMS. Important to note it will be a semi-automatic system for this winter with each barrier controlled individually – fully automatic system to be operational next year. JM added the minister is particularly interested in updates on this.

Doors Open Day on 23rd September was a success, over 300 people attended and over £2400 raised for Alzheimer's Scotland.

Communications Group - Update by JB

There is a new format for the Quarterly Forth Bridges website analysis report due to a change with analytics. The report was shared with members prior to the meeting. Notable peak occurred for Doors Open Day 2023. 

Enquiries stats via FBF mailbox for the last quarter. 26 received within July to Sept. BEAR Scotland replied to the majority of these.

Network Rail - Update by SL and SD

North works will be complete early November.

No major structural works upcoming. 

Barnardo’s your View event, 22nd - 24th September 2023 raised £53k.

CHSS abseil event, 8th October 2023 raised around £120k. SD confirmed totals raised with CHSS.

Combined Total: £306,122.52 (both external charity & CHSS)

External Charity Total: £181,862.99

CHSS Total: £124,259.53 (event costs to be deducted from CHSS total)

Forth Bridge Experience - funding options still being considered.


JA/GL to agree dates for FBF meetings for 2024.

Date of next meeting - 6 February 2024

Published Date 13 Feb 2024 Type Mode of transport