Sir, – Your article (“A flood of complaints”, March 15) regarding issues raised about the Forth Replacement Crossing works may have left your readers with a distorted and misleading view.
I reject the assertion “TS have once again strayed from the truth publicly” in relation to our recent appearance before the infrastructure and capital investment committee.
There is simply no basis for this statement nor in any other matter of fact and I welcome this right of reply.
I regret that Transport Scotland was not afforded that courtesy before your article was published.
There are several other points which require correction. The 131 complaints you refer to were received over 19 months, not six as you assert.
We take any complaint seriously and I am confident FCBC is being responsive to issues when they arise. We will continue to closely monitor activity on the community’s behalf.
The flooding incidents to which you refer in July 2012 were caused by exceptional rainfall.
While we have sympathy for the residents affected, we do not believe these incidents were caused by construction activity nor have we or FCBC “accepted responsibility” as you assert.
You also state a report has found there was a “total failure on their behalf to prove the existence of effective flood risk assessment and flood risk mitigation”.
This is inaccurate and no such findings were reached. In spite of significant rainfall events since mid-August 2012, no further flooding events have occurred due to the effective measures put into place.
Your readers will know that consultation and community engagement have been at the heart of the FRC project since day one.
So much so, in fact, feedback from local communities led to fundamental improvements to the original scheme design.
The contractual requirements placed upon our contractors and our monitoring arrangements are as extensive as or greater than those you could find on any other comparable project.
We also host regular community forums which allow community councils, community representatives and senior project figures from Transport Scotland and our contractors to get around the table and address any issues of concern
Given the sheer scale of the operations currently underway to construct the biggest transport infrastructure project in Scotland for a generation, I believe we are getting most things right.
However we are acting quickly to resolve matters when something is not as it should be and I’m pleased that relations with all communities affected by the works continue to be friendly and constructive. – Yours etc.,
Forth Replacement Crossing Project Director,
INVESTMENT: Sir, – In reply to your correspondent Mr Manion last week who thought that more should have been done in the ‘good times’ about investing in the Palace, can I remind him that the ‘good times’ were before the end of 2008 when the country entered recession with a knock-on impact on public finances.
The SNP government was elected in 2007 and previous Governments hadn’t taken seriously possibilities for the Palace.
The current capital budget for Scotland has been cut by 25 per cent in real terms to 2014.
I personally first raised investment for the Palace in 1999/2000 and now as the local constituency MSP elected in 2011 have made a point of taking practical steps to get planning started for a Linlithgow Palace and Town strategy involving Historic Scotland.
This includes identifying and agreeing what that means for investment in the Palace.
We have to be realistic about funds in the short term but it shouldn’t stop us planning for when resources are available. I would hope that would be an initiative worth supporting. – Yours etc.,
Fiona Hyslop MSP
SEARCH: Sir, - My name is Shirley Smeaton and I am living in New Zealand.
I am trying to find my relatives and hope you might be able to help me. My maiden name is Willocks and as far as I am aware my ancestors came from the Journal and Gazette area and from Edinburgh.
William Willocks and his wife Janet and two children departed Edinburgh in 1850 to London and then to New Zealand via the ship Mariner. I hope you may be able to help in some way. – Yours etc.,
THANKS: Sir, - On behalf of Barnardo’s Scotland, I’d like to say a big thank you to all the toddlers from Bright Beginnings Nursery in Falkirk, Grange Nursery and Bo’ness Childminders in Bo’ness, and Inchlair Nursery in Larbert who took part in Big Toddle events in 2012.
Together they raised an amazing £537.63 to help fund our work with under-fives and their families. Nurseries, playgroups and parents all got involved in organising events helping little ones to dress up as superheroes.
I’m sure those taking part had great fun. Children love dressing up and if they thought our 2012 ‘superhero’ theme was fun, I am sure our theme for 2013 – fairytales and nursery rhymes – will be a great success.
If you are interested in taking part in this year’s Big Toddle you can find everything you need by visiting www.bigtoddle.co.uk or calling 0800 008 7005. – Yours etc.,