Residents should be given priority in a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to walk across the Queensferry Crossing.
That is the view of Edinburgh West MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton, who believes the random ballot format, which closed on Wednesday, will reduce the chance of “deserving” Queensferry residents walking across the new bridge.
The bridge opens on August 30 and then will be shut to vehicles on the weekend of September 2 and 3 to allow 50,000 people to walk across it.
More than 226,000 tickets were applied for, outstripping the total available by over four to one. The random selection process is under way and organisers expect it to be concluded no later than July 13. Residents have 48 hours to confirm their attendance once selected.
According to figures published yesterday (Thursday) by Transport Scotland, 51 per cent of postcodes hail from near the bridge. More than 97 per cent were from Scottish postcodes and 437 were from around the world. The Edinburgh West MSP has insisted that because Queensferry residents have had to put up with the disruption over the last few years they should be first in the queue.
He said: “I have written to the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urging that the residents of South Queensferry be given priority to walk across the bridge.
“Given the amount of people that have applied for the ballot it is highly unlikely that Queensferry residents will all get a chance.
“This is not fair as they have had to deal with the brunt of the disruption and they have had to live with this day in, day out for a number of years.”
A spokesman for Transport Scotland said: “This project has worked closely with the community councils of North Queensferry, Inverkeithing, Rosyth, South Queensferry, Newton and Kirkliston and will continue to work with them to ensure many local school pupils, community groups and members of local communities have the opportunity to take part in the opening celebrations.”
Preparations for a further official opening are being made and will be announced when finalised.