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[ 24-02-2010 ]

 Scottish Chambers of Commerce will today (Wednesday 24 February) week be joining with Edinburgh, Fife and West Lothian Chambers of Commerce in presenting evidence in support of the new Forth Road Bridge to the Scottish Parliament’s recently constituted Forth Crossing Bill Committee.  The Chambers’ message is clear – a new Forth Road Bridge is essential and must be completed by 2016 at the latest.

Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:
“A new Forth Road Bridge has long been a key transport priority for businesses, not just on either bank of the Forth, but throughout Scotland and, indeed, the North East of England.  We welcome the fact that successive Scottish Governments have recognised the importance of this project and that the Scottish Parliament are now considering the legislation which should finally make this vital project a reality.  The economic cost of not acting, which we estimate to be in excess of £1.5 billion, simply cannot be contemplated.  Scotland needs a new Forth Crossing fit for the 21st century and we need to have this project in motion sooner rather than later.”
Alan Russell, Chief Executive of Fife Chamber of Commerce said:
“The Forth Road Bridge is the single most important piece of infrastructure, transport or otherwise, for Fife businesses.  The closure of the bridge would be disastrous for the local economy and would undoubtedly result in the closure or relocation of a significant number of businesses.  We need to get on with building the new bridge now.”
Ron Hewitt, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, said:
“There is no more important connection in Scotland’s economy.  If we can’t get people to work across the river, if we can’t support the businesses within our City Region, if we can’t deliver the people, the goods and the services to where we need them then we are dead in the water.”
Dave McDougall, Chief Executive of West Lothian Chamber of Commerce said:
“West Lothian relies not just on its East-West connectivity to prosper but also on its North-South links.  Our links across the Forth are vital for servicing some of our key industries and distribution hubs, and also provide local businesses with ready access to Scotland’s key ferry link to continental Europe at Rosyth.  The proposed new Forth crossing would provide additional capacity for the movement of goods and people across the river and would deliver great benefits to the West Lothian economy.”