Forth Bridges Forum - Meeting 50 - Minutes - 6 February 2024

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  • Jonny Moran (JM) - Online - Transport Scotland   
  • John Andrew (JA) - Transport Scotland
  • Karen Stewart (KS) - FB Area Tourism Strategy Manager
  • Caroline Warburton (CW) - VisitScotland
  • Sarah Duignan (SD) - Network Rail
  • Stewart Lothian (SL) -Online (part) - Network Rail
  • Miles Ogelthorpe (MO) - Historic Environment Scotland
  • Mark Watson (MW) - Historic Environment Scotland
  • Gillian Laurie (GL) - Secretariat - BEAR Scotland        
  • Chris Tracey (CT) - BEAR Scotland
  • Joanna Buggy (JB) - BEAR Scotland
  • Francis Newton (FN) – Online - City of Edinburgh Council
  • Gordon Brown (GB) – Online - West Lothian Council           

1. Welcome and Introductions

1.1. JM welcomed all to meeting 50 of the Forth Bridges Forum, JA introduced all.

2. Apologies, Minutes of Previous Meeting and Actions

2.1. Apologies received from: - Mercy Muthegu, Transport Scotland; Paul Lawrence, Elin Willamson – CEC, James Bruhn – HES; John Mitchell - Fife Council

2.2. Minutes of previous meeting held on 24 October 2023 were agreed and subsequently published.

2.3. Action points were reviewed and updated as follows:

Action 43 5 – MOU for WH Coordinator Role – Ongoing – See item 4.2

Action 47 2.4 – FBF ministerial briefing – Ongoing – See item 5.1

Action 47 5.1 – Terms of Reference review – Ongoing – See item 5.1

Action 47 7.4 – Anniversaries group - Ongoing – See item 5.2

Action 48 4.6 – CEC use – Ongoing – See item 5.4

Action 49  4.1 – WH Coordinator – See item 4.1

Action 49.52 – Senior presence from WLC - Closed

3. Tourism Update – Update by KS

3.1. KS provided presentation of tourism work.

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

3.3. Viewpoint signage – Interpretation signage installation scheduled mid March.

3.4. Proposed brown tourist sign – Letter of accreditation supplied to Transport Scotland from Visit Scotland.  Transport Scotland applying to City of Edinburgh Council. 

3.5. Social media update – Designline Creative appointed for tourism blog and social media management from 16 October 2023 for six months. Over 5m reached in 2023.

3.6. Forth Bridges website updated regularly with news and blogs.

3.7. Cruise season – all dates added to events log.  Cruise Forth Summit was 23 January 2024. Tourism business briefing with Cruise Forth w/c 22 April 2024.  ESES regional prosperity Framework, Visitor Economy and Culture

3.8. World Heritage UK webinar with MW, HES 8 February 2024.

3.9. 2024 is the 200th anniversary of the RNLI, recognised by UNESCO

3.10. Climate Forth – re-launch of Round the Forth cycle route.  Trial of minibus with trailer on Sundays. Minibus will use public car park at viewpoint.

JM asked if Climate Forth would be a ministerial event?  Action: KS to confirm

4. World Heritage Management Group Update – Update by MO

4.1. World Heritage Coordinator role – Arrangements for post close to complete.  Tourism Manager post extended to June 2024.  MO and MW assisting KS into new role.

4.2. World Heritage Management Plan – WH Coordinator will progress.  MO and MW will provide specialist support.

4.3. The Climate Vulnerability Index will assess the impacts of climate change on World Heritage sites.  MO/MW will keep the forum informed of the process.

4.4. MO asked that the forum considers ways to harness the knowledge and drive of the local community councils.

4.5. MO retiring 1 April 2024 but will continue to be involved in FBF/WHMG in some capacity.  The Chair added a note of thanks to Miles for his commitment and work throughout the years.

4.6. WHMG Chair does not need to be HES however MO suggested that the chair role retains continuity to ensure corporate ownership.  This is an agenda item for next WHMG meeting.  Tourism chair rotates.  JB also suggested discontinuing with Communications group as it stands, reassess.  To be discussed.

4.7. HES financial contribution to forum for this financial year. 

Action - MO send JM email on HES financial contribution (done)

4.8. Historical and future forum finance to be raised at separate meeting.

Action - GL to arrange separate meeting with JM and JA

5. Forth Bridges Forum Update – Update by JA

5.1. FBF Terms of Reference review and subsequent ministerial update – draft Terms of Reference shared before this meeting.  When Terms of Reference is agreed this will inform the ministerial briefing.

Action - All to share final significant comments on Terms of Reference.

5.2. FRB 60th anniversary – two meetings have been held, next meeting planned for 12 February 2024 to rationalise potential programme of events

5.3. No requirement for a public meeting unless requested or there are specific circumstances (such as an event) to discuss.  Newsletters have been discontinued due to sufficient coverage on social media.

5.4. Use of CEC.  Not straightforward because it is not a public building – JA investigating options.

6. Queensferry Crossing and Forth Road Bridge – Update by CT

6.1. Forth Road Bridge – Three below deck schemes are substantially complete.

6.2. Both footpaths on FRB will open at weekends from Saturday 10 February 2024.  This will continue until future planned works necessitate the need for a footpath closure.

6.3. Dehumidification will be refurbished.  The first since it was installed.

6.4. Queensferry Crossing barriers.  Intelligent road studs to be installed then further trial will take place (likely April).  Working with Traffic Scotland to highlight Red X is mandatory message.

7. Communications Group – Update by JB

7.1. Quarterly Forth Bridges website analysis report was shared with members prior to the meeting.  Notable peak occurred for Storm Babet.  Although the website moved to tourism focus there remains a legacy of peaks due to weather events.

7.2. GL advised there has been 18 enquiries via FBF mailbox in last quarter, Oct to Dec 2023.

7.3. JB asked that a change to the FBF communications group be considered i.e linked to subgroups rather than a separate entity.  Will be discussed at separate meeting.

8. Network Rail – Update by SL and SD

8.1. Major north works complete.  Ongoing liaison with residents regarding water and debris issue.  Network Rail evaluating results from feasibility study.

8.2. Bridge alarm system to warn of approaching trains will be installed in March.  Will only be used when workers access to track on cantilevers.  Noise assessment survey will have been undertaken, residents should not hear this alarm.

8.3. Barnardo’s your View event 2024 – discussions ongoing.

8.4. CHSS abseil event 2024 - discussions ongoing, likely held in June.  CHSS has asked that this event be shared on FB social media.

8.5. Forth Bridge Experience – no further update.

9. AOB

9.1. Beamer Rock to be added to next FBF agenda

9.2. Admirals House plans to be added to next FBF agenda

10. Date of next meeting – 23 April 2024

Published Date 8 May 2024 Type Mode of transport