Forth bridge board is on the way out

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Legislation has been published to abolish the board in charge of the Forth Road Bridge ready for management of the iconic structure and the £15 billion new crossing to be handed to the private sector.

The Forth Estuary Transport Authority (FETA) – made up of representatives of local authorities either side of the crossing – is being scrapped and the job of maintaining and managing the two bridges will be put out to tender.

The move sparked fears of loss of accountability when it was announced last year.

Now the Forth Road Bridge Bill, which transfers ownership of the existing bridge to ministers, is to be considered by the Scottish Parliament’s infrastructure committee, which is inviting evidence on the issue before February 1.

An accompanying document says an alternative approach, giving FETA responsibility for both crossings, risked being perceived as uncompetitive and added: “Without testing the market, value for money cannot be demonstrated.”

The new crossing is due for completion in 2016.

Under the Bill, the 72 FETA staff will be transferred to the bridge operating company with their terms and conditions ­protected.