Community Councils Together on Trams/Trams Team meeting, 1 November 2018

Minutes of the Community Councils Together on Trams/Trams Team meeting, held in Leith Community Education Centre on Thursday 01 November at 5:30pm

Actions and decisions are red italic.


BAFO = best and final offer LW = Leith Walk
CCTT = Community Councils Together on Trams OBC = outline business case
CEC = City of Edinburgh Council POLHA = Port of Leith Housing Association
CPZ = controlled parking zone SPC = swept-path contract
CS = Constitution St TAPOG = CEC’s tram all-party oversight group
ECI = early contractor involvement TfE = Transport for Edinburgh
EIA = environmental impact assessment TN = Trams to Newhaven project
FBC = full business case TRO = traffic regulation order
ISC = infrastructure and systems contract TT = trams team

1 Welcome and introductions

1.1 Attendance

Charlotte Encombe CCTT/Leith Central CC Andrew Mackenzie CCTT/Leith Links CC
Angus Hardie CCTT/Leith Links CC Bruce Ryan CCTT minutes secretary
Rob Leech TT/TN project director (Anturas Consulting) Harald Tobermann CCTT/Leith Central CC
Rob Levick CCTT/ Leith Harbour & Newhaven CC Darren Wraight TT/CEC
Jennifer Marlborough CCTT/Leith Harbour & Newhaven CC

1.a Apologies

Margaret Duffy CCTT/New Town & Broughton CC

2 Update from CCTT

H Tobermann reported:

  • The timeline for the full tram business case (FBC) has been extended to March [2019].
  • He has met with cllrs Chas Booth (Greens) and Joanna Mowat (Conservatives) – both attend TAPOG.
  • He is due to meet with cllr Lesley Macinnes (SNP) in early November.
  • These meetings were to discuss the timeline (and other issues on CCTT manifesto). However, because the timeline has now been extended, this will be less of an issue with when he meets with cllr Macinnes (LM). Instead, HT will concentrate on CCTT’s [other] main concerns.
  • HT also was an observer at a recent meeting between LM and cllr Karen Doran (KD; vice-convenor of CEC’s transport committee) and three owners of ‘speciality’ businesses on Leith Walk (LW).
    • LM and KD listened to the owners’ ‘shopkeeper’ concerns. However the meeting was tense in parts, and less productive than HT ‘would have hoped’. However, the meeting helped demonstrate feelings about the current plans, which seemed to be taken on board by LM and KD.
  • CCTT intends to continue to support shopkeepers, possibly inviting them to a meeting in the near future.
    • HT stated that the vitality of LW depends on the existing variety of shop-types, including variety within blocks.
    • A low number of shopkeepers have engaged with consultation and planning processes, so there may be difficulties. (J Marlborough added that shopkeepers on Constitution St are not happy.)
  • He has met with George Lowder (GL), Chief Executive of Transport for Edinburgh (TfE), to discuss integrated ticketing.
    • He noted that trams may lead to reduced bus frequencies and fewer routes. Hence smooth interchange between trams and busses is needed.
    • Such issues are outwith TT’s remit, but will be fed back by GL to LM.
    • TfE is an arms-length organisation, so CEC can’t easily intervene in its day-to-day operations.
    • HT wishes integrated ticketing to be in place when trams start using the Newhaven extension, not later.

A Mackenzie reported

  • He has passed on information on about interlaced and single tracks to Constitution St (CS) residents.
  • CS residents intend to meet with their CEC cllrs before the end of the consultation, ideally also with LHNCC and LLCC.

J Marlborough asked about private traffic entering properties just north of Commercial St via the planned Ocean Drive junction, and buses turning at this location.

  • D Wraight stated that this area has not yet been fully designed. TT intends to meet with Lothian Buses to discuss kerb alignments to buses can turn here.
  • The issue for private traffic will be tackled after the end of the consultation. Meanwhile JM should submit her concerns via the consultation, and they could be discussed offline.

3 Update from Tram Team

D Wraight met this morning with Port of Leith Housing Association (POLHA; it has property on and near Constitution St). It is hoped that POLHA will also attend the meeting of CS residents with CEC cllrs.

R Leech reported

  • The move of the FBC decision to March 2019 due to inclusion of the best and final offer (BAFO) process, tenders will be evaluated by early December to allow work to commence on finalising the FBC. The FBC will be completed in January with time then required for the necessary internal approvals prior to political briefings commencing. CEC will be occupied with budget matters in January and February, so a decision has been taken to submit the FBC to the Transport & Environment Committee at the end of February and full Council in March.

3.a Bids

  • Bids for the Infrastructure & Systems Contract (ISC) were received in early September and following the quality tender evaluation a decision was taken to run a best and final offer (BAFO) stage. Once the BAFO process is complete the most economically advantageous tender, taking account of price and quality, will be used to update the FBC.
  • Evaluation of SPC bids is complete: TT are ready to make SPC-bidder recommendations to CEC at the appropriate time.
  • Organisations could not bid for both ISC and SPC.
  • A Hardie asked why contracts sometimes go over budget. R Leech responded that
    • In any contract, there are always mechanics for variation so that some risk remains with the contract commissioner. Examples of non-transferrable risk include risk of unavailability of land and in some instances unexpected ground conditions.
    • Such issues are handled using built-in contingency budget according to industry best practice. For example, the 2017 outline business case (OBC) for trams included contingency allowance of >25% of construction budget. Such allowances are calculated using Monte Carlo simulations involving all identified risks, their potential impacts and their likelihoods. This gives a range of possible risk expenditure scenarios. Also included in calculations is an optimism bias factor that is applied to the economic analysis of the project.
    • HT asked about land ownership and possession.
      • R Leech responded that risk of the SPC work holding up the ISC work remains with TT albeit the approach being taken mirrors the approach successfully used post mediation on the first phase of tram. He also added that the TT has retained key personnel from phase 1.
    • Contingency time is also built into the FBC, following quantitative schedule risk analysis methods.
    • It is unlikely that the extension of the FBC process until March will have more than a small inflationary effect. Similarly, Brexit may affect costs of materials sourced from the EU but much material (e.g. rails, overhead poles, substation materials) is already owned by CEC. Cement and aggregate are from UK sources, and labour is UK-based, even for multinational bidders.

3.b Consultations

  • The design consultation is open until 11 November 2018.
  • The business consultation has closed, and the ~35 responses are being analysed. Results from this will help inform TT’s plans for supporting businesses during construction. The FBC will include ~£2·4m for this.
  • There has been significant progress in writing chapters of the FBC.
  • In January 2019, there will be a series of activities to support FBC approval, including liaison with TfE and Lothian buses, culminating with a decision by the TN project board.
  • Then a data-room will be created for CEC cllrs that they can read and challenge the FBC.
    • Prior work (e.g. demand modelling, financial model) on the OBC has been independently audited. Such factors are unlikely to have changed significantly since then, so there is no need for further independent audit for the FBC. Scott-Moncreiff (CEC’s auditors) are auditing aspects of the project including the financial model for the FBC. CEC internal audit is also carrying out a review prior to the FBC being finalised. With regards to the tender process CEC’s legal team sit in on all quality evaluations. All evaluators then attend consensus meetings to agree final verbal and numerical evaluations. These final evaluations are the basis of the final decisions in relation to the quality evaluations.
  • The FBC will be presented to and scrutinised by CEC’s transport and environment committee on 28 February.
  • The FBC will then be presented to the full CEC on 14 March.
  • If CEC decides to proceed with TN, there will be a 10-day period in which contractors can challenge CEC’s decision, this is standard in any public procurement and is set out in the Directives.
  • Contracts would be signed on 28 March, followed by a 4-week mobilisation period.
  • This would be followed by a 20-week early contractor involvement (ECI) period, ending mid-September 2019.
  • There would be ongoing audit during construction.
  • Completion will be in accordance with the programme submitted by the successful tenderer and RL confirmed that this is not being artificially compressed to meet any dates.

4 Review and update tram pre/construction programme

4.a New timeline to FBC and Tram Team’s milestones to March

See section 3b above

4.b Opportunities to refine and improve existing plans, preparations and designs during this period, and time to address remaining contentious issues

R Leech stated that these CCTT/TT meetings have very useful so far.

  • There will be at least four further CCTT/TT meetings:
  • 29 November 2018, covering items 5c (TTROs during construction) and 5f (Remaining design/TRO issues) below
  • 10 January 2019, covering item 5a (Quantificationof environmental benefits) below
  • 31 January 2019, covering items 5b (TTROs during construction) and 5e (Business support package etc) below
  • 21 February (i.e. before TEC’s consideration of FBC), covering item 5d (supplementary programmes)

Action: TT to update meeting invitations

5 to agree: future meetings main area(s) of discussion

5.a Quantification of environmental benefits

This topic will be explored fully at CCTT/TT meeting on 10 January 2019.

H Tobermann noted that an environmental impact assessment (EIA) was undertaken around the time of the Tram Act (2006). This may fulfil legal requirements, but the environmental impacts (e.g. displacement of traffic to other roads) should be fully investigated and quantified [according to today’s conditions].

  • R Leech is trying to obtain relevant modelling data, e.g. numbers of transfers from car to tram.
  • HT gave and example of SEPA observing number-plates to predict pollution levels from the ages, models and hence likely contributions to pollution by individual cars. HT is likely to receive relevant data.
  • R Leech stated that environment is not the only driver of TN: drivers include capacity and connectivity of mass transit

5.b TTROs during construction

This topic will be explored fully at CCTT/TT meeting on 31 January 2019.

H Tobermann noted that business owners are very concerned about the impact of TTROs.

  • R Leech responded that TTROs are simply a means of TT undertaking their work, and that what businesses really want to know is what TT will be doing, e.g. closing LW for 18 months, implementing temporary car-parks and cycle-routes.
  • D Wraight added that TTROs will change frequently.
  • H T responded that the point of concern is that people should be easily able to find out how they are affected, e.g. their journeys to bus-stops. Hence facts should be presented visually and clearly, included how changes are decided. A better label would be ‘life during construction’.
  • A Hardie asked about the communications strategy for TTROs.
  • H Tobermann suggested that signage should not need explanatory signage. For example, the closure of LW will make clear what is happening. Hence the project should be self-explanatory, in advance of work starting, so businesses can plan around it.
  • D Wraight responded that communication is part of the process, but the contractor will work with CEC to decide fine detail of communicable matters. CCTT is a statutory consultee on construction.

5.c Permanent TROs post construction

This topic will be explored fully at CCTT/TT meeting on 29 November 2018.

It was noted that these TROs are part of the design.

5.d ‘supplementary programmes’ (partial list)

This topic will be explored fully at CCTT/TT meeting on 21 February 2019.

Concerning the items on this list, D Wraight and R Leech added:

5.d.1 Cycle link from Leith Walk Kirkgate to Ocean Terminal

£70,000 has been awarded by Sustrans to undertake an options appraisal/feasibility study and hence design the link, ideally finishing by Christmas 2018. The contract is about to be awarded to a contractor. A meeting with key active travel and community stakeholders (Spokes, Sustrans, Living Streets, Edinburgh Access Panel, relevant CEC cllrs, CCTT) is in the next 2 weeks, in order to set objectives for this work. Once complete, this work will become part of the FBC.

5.d.2 Roundabout Easter Road/Duke Street

This work would be funded from the 2019-20 capital roads renewal budget. Design work is in progress, so work can start early in 2019-20.

  • This work is called for because modelling had shown poor traffic flows, and the junction would be affected by TN construction work. Hence it is sensible for permanent improvements to be made during TN construction.
  • H Tobermann suggested that bottlenecks will simply be transferred to nearby streets.
  • DW stated that a key factor behind the work is improvement of pedestrian and cycling facilities at this roundabout.

5.d.3 Duncan Place

This is at an early stage.

5.d.4 Other points

H Tobermann suggested that there is tension between the £2·4 m for business support and other CEC spending needs.

  • R Leech added that TN itself would not add to CEC spending, but conceded that the supplementary projects would.
  • HT and C Encombe added that businesses had not organised themselves as CCTT has, so there may well be complaints from businesses when work starts.
  • HT suggested that the list is likely to grow.
    • In response, DW suggested that this list should be discussed in the meeting with Cllr Macinnes.
    • DW also noted that he met today with cllr Macinnes about supplementary projects.
  • DW noted that TT is taking forward and manage the above 3 items, but using budgets outside the TN budget
  • DW also noted that he is taking part in wider discussions, e.g. with CEC’s transport manager about possible controlled parking zones (CPZs). He is recommending that CPZs are considered.
    • C Encombe was concerned that CEC parking officials were unaware of TN dates, but DW stated that senior managers are well aware: one of them is on the TN board.
  • Action: HT/DW to meet offline about the list of supplementary programmes.

5.e Business support package, indicators for business mix and health prior to and after construction, sketch plans/models of logistics hubs and parking/loading areas during construction

This topic will be explored fully at CCTT/TT meeting on 31 January 2019.

5.f Remaining design/TRO issues (e.g. Constitution Street, Ocean Drive right turn)

This topic will be explored fully at CCTT/TT meeting on 29 November 2018.