After months of preparation and debate the inquiry into the Edinburgh Trams project has opened with the first of the preliminary hearings taking place although it will be some time before any witnesses are called to give evidence. The Chairman of the inquiry is Lord Hardie and at the hearing he revealed that officials are now looking at six million documents related to the project showing the sheer scale of the inquiry.
The inquiry was called following the opening of the line between the Airport and York Place in the city centre and is seeking to find out why the project was so delayed (opening three years later than planned) and why it went so far over budget. To achieve this the documents will be examined – specialist equipment is being used to assist with this – and key witnesses will be called to give evidence. Lord Hardie has confirmed that there are seven core participants who will assist the inquiry, they are Bilfinger Berger, Siemens, Carillion, Parsons Brinckerhoff, DLA Piper (law firm), Scottish ministers and the Council.
It is 16 months since the Scottish government announced an inquiry would take place and it is likely to be many months – and probably over a year – before the outcome is known.