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Freight Transport Association Say We Need A New Forth Bridge Now

24th January 2006

The Scottish Freight Council of the Freight Transport Association is calling on Transport Minister Tavish Scott to make an early and positive decision regarding the provision of an alternative crossing to the Forth Road Bridge. Corrosion problems on the bridge are threatening future viability. The bridge constitutes a vital amenity for heavy goods vehicles.

The Council will meet tomorrow (25 January) in Grangemouth, and FTA members will hear that the remedial works currently being put in place are not guaranteed to halt the corrosion and the bridge could be closed to all traffic, other than cars, as soon as 2013. The worst case scenario shows the bridge being closed to all traffic by 2019.

FTA Scottish Council Chairman Ian Fleming, Transport Operations Manager at food and drink suppliers C J Long says, 'A ban on all vehicles over 3.5 tonnes gross would have a catastrophic effect on industry and commerce in Fife and, indeed, the whole of Scotland. FTA is calling for the Transport Minister, Tavish Scott, to make an early positive decision on the provision of a further crossing, both to relieve the current congestion and as a back-up to the present structure, which is now more than 40 years old, should extensive remedial work need to be done on it. Studies have shown that none of the alternatives involving modal shift, notably to rail, will relieve the congestion that the Forth Road Bridge is suffering. A start needs to be made on a new structure now.'

In Caithness Tranpost operators seem to be generally supportive of the FTA lobbying of ministers. A sopokesperson for Cormacks Tranport based at Castletown said that without the Forth Bridge being available to them there would be significant increases in their costs especially from fuel and driver time but also other maintencence costs if they needed to go south via Stirling or the Kincardine Bridge. Cormacks Transport who move livestock to various places locally and in the south require to use the Forth Bridge regualrly for movemennts to Linlithgow and further south.
Freight Transport Association web site http://www.fta.co.uk/

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