‘Breathtaking incompetence’ in Capital trams project

Donald Anderson with Andrew Burns at a Council meeting.
Donald Anderson with Andrew Burns at a Council meeting.
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DONALD Anderson has hit out at the “breathtaking” incompetence he says he saw in the trams project.

He was council leader when the outline business case for the trams was agreed and the arms-length company TIE set up to run the project.

Edinburgh Tram. Picture; Lesley Martin

Edinburgh Tram. Picture; Lesley Martin

But he said the way the scheme evolved was “tragic”.

And he voiced sympathy for the comment by former Lord Provost Eric Milligan that if councillors had known the problems ahead they would never have backed the project.

Mr Anderson said: “Eric is right – we would have had to be insane to say we wanted to spend £700 million on delivering a tram from the airport to the city centre.

“No-one would have wanted to give the go-ahead to that. But that’s not what the council actually was giving the go-ahead to – it was to build something that reached a lot further.

“Unfortunately because of a perfect storm of various different factors the trams became a tragedy, which was really badly handled.

“I think the level of incompetence on the trams – from a whole range of people – was truly breathtaking.

“I think there are lots of questions to be asked about the way TIE ran and the advice it gave to the council and the way that advice was acted on.”

Along with all other councillors serving at the time, Mr Anderson has been invited to give evidence to the inquiry led by Lord Hardie into the trams fiasco.

He has said he is more than happy to co-operate – indeed “enthusiastic” about doing so.