Leader comment: Tram secrecy will only breed suspicion

The city council has refused to release its legal advice to the Evening News.
The city council has refused to release its legal advice to the Evening News.
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If transport bosses learned anything from their first effort at tram building in Edinburgh, it was surely the need for transparency.

A project clouded in secrecy only breeds suspicion, whether that impression is well founded or not.

The citizens of Edinburgh, who will be stumping up for the planned extension to Newhaven in one way or another, must be kept fully in the loop as the plans progress. That may make for uncomfortable scrutiny but it is necessary if an already deeply suspicious public are to be brought along for the ride. Today we learn the council has forked out almost £400,000 on external legal advice surrounding the extension. This raises questions in itself as the council already employs a team of, presumably competent, lawyers.

To then withhold the advice from the public - in this case through refusing an FoI request from the Evening News - is even more strange. To further keep it from councillors before they make a decision on whether to green light the scheme appears indefensible. Councillors have now been given access to the advice and this could yet all turn out to be a storm over nothing. The point is that it didn’t need to happen at all.

We must have full transparency, warts and all.