Tram inquiry’s first hearing finally announced

THE first hearing of the Edinburgh tram inquiry will be on 19 August - 14 months after it was announced.

The first inquiry into the Edinburgh trams fiasco has been scheduled 14 months after it was announced. Picture: Greg Macvean

However, chairman Lord Hardie said today the hearing would be only a brief and preliminary one, and no dates have been announced for further hearings.

The news comes nearly a year after the then First Minister Alex Salmond said when he appointed the former judge: “We look forward to a swift and thorough inquiry.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

There were claims this week the inquiry could cost £2 million and take years to be completed.

But an inquiry spokesman said that setting the hearing date “underlined the continued good progress” of the inquiry.

It will take place at the inquiry’s offices at Waverley Gate at the east end of Princes Street.

Lord Hardie said he would announce then which people and organisations would be “core participants” in the inquiry.

He said those who wished to be included should contact inquiry officials by 24 June.

Those eligible include those who played a significant role or have a significant interest in the tram project, or who may be significantly criticised during inquiry.

Lord Hardie said: “At a brief, formal preliminary hearing on 19 August, I will announce the details of those persons and organisations who have been designated as core participants.

“These individuals and organisations will have a key role during the inquiry and participate actively in the proceedings by making statements or asking questions, under my guidance.

“The main purpose of the preliminary hearing is to ensure all procedural matters are agreed before the start of the inquiry hearings, the dates for which I will announce at an appropriate future juncture.”

The inquiry will look at 65 aspects relating to the £776m tram scheme, in which a truncated line between Edinburgh Airport and York Place in the city centre was finished three years late and hugely over budget.