There is no doubt a full inquiry into the Forth Road Bridge closure is essential to determine what went wrong and how to avoid a repetition in future.
The closure will have a significant financial impact on the Scottish economy both at the individual company level, where some may fail to survive, and on the wider economy generally, through lower GDP and possibly lower tax revenues. Fortunately, with regard to the latter, that impact will be spread over the UK economy as a whole, which would not be the case if Scotland were independent.
Yet again we can be thankful that sense prevailed in September 2014, and Scotland rejected independence, otherwise John Swinney would be having to factor that impact into his budget for an independent Scotland after March 2016 in addition to the much greater impact of falling oil revenues. Just another small reason why we are “Better Together”.
Braid Farm Road, Edinburgh
Living in Fife I have used the Forth Road Bridge over the last 35 years for business all over Scotland, travelling south of the Border and for flights from Edinburgh Airport. I have seen the increase in traffic volume, the disappearance of tolls, the road improvements on the south side and now the building of the new crossing.
I have read and heard many voices over the last few days referring to the bridge connecting Fife with Edinburgh, which it does, but I believe many totally underestimate the fact that practically all freight and other traffic travelling from or to the northern areas of Scotland uses the bridge.
Freight coming from the north will now divert around the Kinross area and make the journey across country to Kincardine on roads that are totally unsuited to this volume of traffic. The delays will have an enormous impact on business and transport costs.
In addition, there will be the huge losses in pre Christmas shopping in the Edinburgh area, especially from places like the Gyle where large amounts of weekend custom come from north of the Forth. These customers simply won’t bother with the hassle required to get there.
Mid Street, Kirkcaldy
Your leader (9 December) is correct, calling for an independent inquiry into the faults and the maintenance of the troubled Forth Road Bridge, considering the evidence from the independent civil engineer, John Carson, whose report (7 December) of curtailed bridge maintenance – based on politically motivated economies, despite warnings of inordinate structural stresses – came five years ago.
The First Minister’s present claims that these old warnings were irrelevant to the present structural failure should not lessen the demands for an independent inquiry, on whose findings lessons about previous and future maintenance work really could and must be learned.
As David Blunkett used to say, “If you’ve nothing to hide, you’ve nothing to fear,” First Minister!
(Dr) Charles Wardrop
Viewlands Road West, Perth
May I point out that if the £1 charge which we used to pay to cross the bridge had been continued, about £35,000 per day would be raised. Would this not have been sufficient to keep the maintenance up to date?
I travel across and back regularly and was always OK with paying this small charge. I would be happy to do so again.
Dudley Avenue Edinburgh