Community Councils Together on Trams/Trams Team meeting, 25 March 2021

Minutes of the Community Councils Together on Trams/Trams Team meeting
(Construction Phase) via Google Meet on Thursday 25 March 2021 at 5:30pm

CCTT minutes secretary apologises for the late publication of these, due to pressure from other work.

Actions and decisions are red italic. ‘TT’ means ‘Trams Team’.

1 Attendance

Robert Armstrong TT Steve Jackson TT Bruce Ryan CCTT minutes secretary
Mike Birch CCTT/NTBCC Rob Leech TT Harald Tobermann CCTT/LCCC
Charlotte Encombe CCTT/LCCC Andrew Mackenzie CCTT/LLCC Chris Wilson TT
Don Giles CCTT/LHNCC Jennifer Marlborough CCTT/LHNCC
Angus Hardie CCTT/LLCC Carol Nimmo CCTT/NTBCC

2 Apologies


3 Update CCTT

3.a Queries and responses

3.a.1 Pre-submitted queries

Reference Category CCTT query/issue, documents TT initial response
0321.1 design mature trees by 129-131 Leith Walk (ID tags 0396 and 0395) missing from Atkins drawings; promises to retain these made by Darren Wraight: how did this happen and how will it be resolved and when? These trees were never promised to be retained, more an effort to retain them would be made. We are currently looking into this as part of the detailed design to establish if the trees can be retained
  • S Jackson: a design exercise is in progress to see if retention is possible. I am pretty sure that there is a loading bay here that might conflict with these trees. I agree this a complex stretch that has to accommodate pavement, running lane, bike lane etc.
    • S Jackson: TT tree-replacement policy is overall 2-for-1 replacement of any trees it cuts down. However, replacements could be anywhere on the route.
0321.2 design detailed features missing or incorrectly shown from underlying OS drawings used by Atkins for TRO (e.g. traffic island Pilrig Street by Leith Walk): since ‘OS does not use any third party data for product revision’, what procedures are in place to resurvey prior to publication for consultation? The baseline OS will not be resurveyed
  • H Tobermann: presentation of TROs etc with out-of-date mapping (e.g. not showing new or moved pedestrian crossings) may prevent full understanding of proposals. While OS will only amend its maps on its schedule, can TT update the maps it uses?
    • R Leech: the important parts of the TRO mapping are locations of parking, loading, lining etc – this is clear, and updating the drawings would be a massive undertaking. TT is beholden to OS, and it’s important to get the TROs published.
0321.3 quality of life reports of out of hours working (noise) at/near Stevedore Place: how are these investigated and resolved? There is a process in place within the project whereby the Council can approve out of hours working (e.g. Saturday afternoon or Sunday) this process is followed and communications issued. The instance at Stevedore Place was an error on the contractor’s part and we have discussed this with the contractor to ensure processes are in place to avoid this happening again.
H Tobermann: CCTT is happy with TT’s response.
0321.4 quality of life report of damaged window at 125/1 Constitution Street caused by construction works: how is this being investigated and resolved? The loss adjuster is in contact with the resident saying the matter is being reviewed.
· H Tobermann: CCTT looks forward to updates on this situation.
0321.5 design will highly skilled pavers (e.g. Portuguese master pavers) be used to reinstate pavements along the route (as was around Picardy Place, and, – now partially damaged – around Pilrig Church)?

NYT article

The contractor will be using its supply chain to deliver the works and if subcontractors are used these are put through an approval process
  • H Tobermann: we don’t yet know the relevant supply-chain, and hence the quality of work we will get. For example, there has been high-class work near the Omni Centre, but setts on the high street had to be redone several times.
    • R Leech/S Jackson: It is illegal to specify workers’ nationalities. We will enforce contractual standards (appropriate EU norms or British Standards). Workers will be vetted to ensure they can achieve this. We will not repeat the Rose Street issues. Such work is currently in progress in two Leith Walk west-side locations (Annandale to McDonald, Pilrig to Dalmeny), in tandem with cycle-path work.
0321.6 impact on pedestrians, quality of life continuing (see 0221.5) sorry saga of deteriorating basic services, contrary to promises by TT, CEC officials and politicians: lighting not working (since well before Christmas), ponding, nightly bin collection crew not able to complete route leading to overspill

overflowing, damaged bin

Meeting arranged with Street lighting to discuss plan for Leith Walk and surrounding streets.
H Tobemann: CCTT sees there is some slow progress, and will continue to monitor it.
0321.7 traffic impact, impact on pedestrians bike diversions on Leith Walk poorly implemented: why is it so difficult to get this right first time? Lessons learned from first phase of these works and will make sure going forward TM is implemented correctly first time of asking.
H Tobermann: CCTT will monitor future similar work.
0321.8 impact on pedestrians ongoing (see 0221.7) scaffolding obstructing Leith Walk pavement without permit: who enforces the embargo?

scaffolding on busy pavement (behind parked vehicle)

Reported to CEC and a fixed penalty notice to be issued, however CEC do not have powers to physically remove this even when erected without a permit.
S Armstrong: fixed penalty is ~£120, permits cost ~£400
0321.9 impact on pedestrians ‘landgrab’ leaves space that could be used for routing pedestrians along desire lines sits unused (by Manderston): will this be better planned/designed where similar situations arise at other junction (e.g. when running lane is ‘flipped’)?

unused space between barriers

This is something we can look at for future similar situations
  • H Tobermann: could a better pedestrian route using the space between fences have been created?
    • S Jackson: this is a specific piece of work, requiring flexibility for traffic management, movement of the running lane and storage of materials. TT has asked the team to review future similar work-locations.
0321.10 traffic impact what plans are there for the direction of car traffic when the running lane on Leith Walk is ‘flipped’ to the west

side? when will this happen? what are LB’s plans at that point? what happens to bikes?

These plans are still being developed in detail, however it is anticipated that the running lane will remain in the same direction, more it will be moved to accommodate completion of works on the East side of Leith Walk
H Tobermann: CCTT looks forward to reviewing detailed plans in the future.
0321.11 design how will communal bins on Leith Walk be secured (corralled)? what plans are there to learn from logistics hubs on side streets to manage communal and commercial waste? In terms of corralling partially this will be done with the Leith Tram kerbside design and we also plan to use the same system in Albert Street, there is more information on our webpage

We would need further clarification on the second question as the Council don’t offer a trade waste collection service (

H Tobermann: CCTT looks forward to reviewing actual bin placements in the future.

3.a.2 Other queries

  • C Encombe: there is a petition to pedestrianise the crossing from Balfour St into Leith Walk. How can such local initiatives be implemented?
  • C Wilson: I received emails from the petitioner, Cllr Rae and the nearby bike shop. The basis of my replies is that in response to one of the big consultations, we moved the Balfour St tram-stop sites to facilitate access to Balfour St. The contractor is currently building to the subsequent agreed designs. During the consultation, it was made clear that the diversion via the Cambridges would be temporary.
  • R Leech: this consultation received some very strong responses, including the one CW mentions.
  • Angus Hardie: is a compromise shared-space arrangement possible?
  • R Leech: it’s too late – the design is finished and TT is building to it
  • S Jackson: this [change] is not possible – it’s a signalised junction
  • H Tobermann: it’s probably better to see this as a future project: TT has to carry on with its work.
  • M Birch: Thank you for sending 80% of responses to traffic modelling queries. Is there any update on the others?
  • S Jackson: I have just received information on York Place modelling. I will look at that and respond to you. So I should have achieved all of this work-thread by the end of March, as anticipated.
  • M Birch: How about outstanding points on TROs?
  • R Armstrong: I will send you an update as soon as I can.
  • M Birch: NTBCC commented on the Leith Walk to London Rd TRO. The response was basically ‘Thank you but we are at a very preliminary stage of the consultation. We will take on board these comments but when we move to the full consultation we will make sure your comments are recorded as objections.’ Are we not at the full consultation already?
  • Action: M Birch to forward this email to R Armstrong; R Armstrong to take this up with TRO team.

3.b Atkins report

  • R Leech: Atkins has concluded that the contractor has met vibration requirements via its design process. Atkins has also considered ground-born noise. These topics are not considered on all projects. There is a relationship between air-born and ground-born noise. ABN adjacent to roadways can be up to 60dB, so GBN would be imperceptible. Atkins has looked at a reasonable approach, because there is no relevant policy. Hence Atkins developed the 40dB threshold for GBN. Almost all of the properties fall within this threshold: one that does not is at 40·2 dB. The resident has contacted TT separately, and TT will respond separately.
  • M Birch: we have been considering GBN and GBV – the report addresses both of these, and amplitude of vibrations. Is there any information on wavelengths and frequencies?
  • R Leech: Please send us any technical queries, to forward to Atkins who can respond.
  • M Birch: there is a reference to a 1992 British Standard on GBV, and the report says that the project is complies with a 2009 version of this BS. However, it only complies with respect to vibration in day-time. Vibration would be 1·3 m/s, while the night-time limit is 1·0 m/s. People are likely to be most concerned about night-time vibrations.
  • M Birch: the acceptable level of noise in the Playhouse is 25dB. The biggest source of noise is the Newhaven-bound track, i.e. not the one closest to the Playhouse. This appears to be because the city-bound has a higher specification than the Newhaven-bound track.
  • M Birch what is the expected speed of the trams?
    • R Leech: 20 mph – they must comply with speed-limits.
    • M Birch: the report says noise etc will be acceptable so long as the trams are at or above 20mph. Surely they need to slow and stop at times?
  • Action: M Birch to email such queries to TT, copying in CCTT
  • D Giles: why has this report been circulated at this time?
  • R Leech: it’s to respond to specific concerns about noise and vibration from operating trams. During construction, constructors must meet requirements in the code of practice, including vibration- and noise-monitoring.
  • H Tobermann: what type of track will be installed at the rail-bridge at Shrub Place?
  • S Jackson: I don’t know immediately but it will be a special form of track because of shallowness here.
  • H Tobermann: There are some interesting exclusions to use of soft-pad along Leith Walk. Why is this?
  • R Leech: this design has demonstrated that soft-pad is not needed in these places.
  • H Tobermann: the only difference I can see is that in these stretches, there are no residents – but there might be in the future.
  • R Leech: I would frame the requirements as being about delivering project on-budget, rather than saving costs. We will deliver to specifications, and demonstrate that we are doing so.
  • H Tobermann: what happens if building-use changes?
  • R Leech: this is a valid question. Please compile and send such questions to TT asap.
  • A Mackenzie: how will it feel in my property, which is 3m from the track?
  • R Leech: the report can’t tell you about such things. Standards help projects deliver acceptable outcomes.
  • H Tobermann: I recent walked the existing tram-route from Gogar to York Place. Ground-born vibration was hardly noticeable 2m from the track whenever trams passed. Busses hitting potholes were much more noticeable. Air-born noise from trams was much more annoying when trams were cornering. However Leith Walk is fairly straight so may not suffer such issues. The corners at Stevedore Place and the Playhouse may do. What lessons have been learnt about tram-cornering?
  • R Leech: wheel-squeal is possible at any tight radius. It is mitigated with lubrication and keeping wheels and track properly maintained. The Edinburgh operators seem to be doing this better than in other cities I’ve experienced.
  • M Birch: is there a plan to monitor post-construction noise and vibration? It is recommended in a UK trams report. There is uncertainty due to differing soil conditions, tram-speed, lubrication. So I suggest there should be monitoring.
  • R Leech: there is no requirement to do this.
  • H Tobermann: how can redress happen if there is consistent in-operation over-limit noise, vibration and damage?
  • R Leech: this is up to CEC, the scheme promoter. However, the existing Edinburgh tram does not have such issues. This does not mean TT dismisses concerns and queries; It aims to answer them.
  • A Mackenzie: monitoring as soon as operation starts, and 6 months, would be welcome.
  • R Leech: there will be a period at the start of operation in which the contractor must rectify defects. The contractor has a large incentive to deliver to standards because if there is non-compliance, the tram might need to close, causing major financial penalties.
  • J Marlborough: residents’ concerns are currently about issues during construction.
  • R Leech: there is no link between the Atkins report (which deals with operational noise and vibration) and queries relating to noise from construction. Those issues are handled under the construction code of practice.
  • C Wilson: most queries coincide with MUS are digging to install utilities. TT publishes compliance with the code monthly. TT does consider how such issues can be mitigated. Any reports of damages are passed to an independent loss-adjuster. TT has received such concerns but has not been inundated with them.

4 Update TT

  • R Leech: the dashboard now has the look-ahead.

4.a Summary of progress made by TT 25 February to 24 March (report by S Jackson)

  • Works continue in Newhaven on the retaining wall. TT is about to amend traffic management there. Road-lowering works continue for the new junction and retaining wall.
  • Most track-slab construction at Ocean Terminal is complete. The two radiused bends here are in construction. Construction of the new tram-stop has started. Public-realm construction outside OT will start soon.
  • On Ocean Drive, utility-clearance work continues. This area should soon be handed over to the infrastructure contractor.
  • The Stevedore Place section has now been handed over to the infrastructure contractor. Track will soon go down here.
  • At Constitution St, up to Bernard St, track-slab is almost complete. Civil/ducting work will soon start, so management of pedestrians is being considered.
  • Between Bernard St and Queen Charlotte St, track-work is in progress.
  • Between Coatfield Lane and the foot of Leith Walk, infrastructure work is now in progress. There is good progress on reconstruction of the graveyard wall.
  • Between Jane St and Crown St (Leith Walk), utility work is in progress. A large gas-main diversion is likely to take 2 months more. The main can’t be switched off until warmer weather arrives.
  • Track-installation is in progress further up Leith Walk. Footway/cycle-way/public-realm work is in progress in two areas.
  • Annandale St should soon open, then McDonald Rd will close.

4.a.1 New issues/‘conflicts’ (if any) encountered by TT/contractors

  • A Mackenzie: are there any issues to do with progression of land agreements with Forth Ports etc?
  • S Jackson: there are no real issues here. We have agreements with all land-owners.

4.a.2 Review of latest TT dashboard

  • A Hardie: in the light of raised awareness of harrassment of women, what happens if TT staff harass?
  • R Leech: proven perpetrators will be removed from site immediately and permanently. TT has zero tolerance for this behaviour. The difficulty lies with getting evidence, but TT would investigate any such complaints rigorously. Also, CEC may well be able to insist that perpetrators do not work for it in future. Above this, it’s up to employers to take any further action: TT does not employ staff, and staff do have employment rights, including due process.
  • S Jackson: there have been no complaints of such behaviour. In fact, two trams workers stepped in to help a woman who was attacked last year at Baltic St.
  • M Birch: Is the 1 minor injury on the report for the last month? Is cumulative information public? What is the difference between major, minor and serious/significant incidents?
  • S Jackson: TT can share such information. A serious incident is where someone needs treatment.
  • M Birch: the dashboard states that a vibration-monitoring station exceeded its limit, and is being investigated.
  • S Jackson: TT will report on this at the next meeting
  • M Birch: the progress section has disappeared.
  • S Jackson: TT will send an update soon.
  • C Wilson: Last month’s dashboard showed ~250 queries. This month’s shows ~390, but average time to resolve has reduced from ~85 to ~82 hours. ~50% arrive by email, ~20% by phone, ~30% via social media, i.e. no big changes.
  • H Tobermann: are there geographical clusters of complaints?
  • C Wilson: I will report on this next meeting
  • C Encombe: is there any progress on providing a hard-copy update for locals?
  • C Wilson: this is on my desk. TT is keen to tie in with the programme, but just now we need to be careful of the pre-election progress. Thank you for sending me the example from Hawick.
  • C Wilson: TT is beginning to work on an open-for-business campaign to tie in with possible lifting of lockdown. The Leith Walk business association appears to have died, but TT has contacts with key people in each section. A customer liaison officer is undertaking relevant work.
  • C Encombe: there is a new LCCC member who may well be a good contact for TT.

4.b TT plans 25 March through to end April and beyond: works planned (predicted impact, w/e working etc); changes to pedestrian and other traffic routes

  • S Jackson: see section 4.a. There will be changes at Lindsay Rd. Annandale St will open, McDonald Rd will close. There will be changes in traffic management and the running lane to accommodate the gas-main diversion.
  • Buses will be impacted positively by the Annandale/McDonald switch – buses use Annandale to access the depot.
  • There will be no major changes to crossing points on Leith Walk, but there may be tweaks to fence-lines. We have learnt the lessons mentioned in section 3.a.1.

4.c timeline for upcoming TROs, designs of public realm, and planning applications

  • R Armstrong: I’ve met with most CCTT members to talk about TROs, and got some good feedback. I plan to compile this into a document to circulate to all CCTT members. I could print copies for each CC.
  • B Ryan: I could put this document on CC websites, and/or circulate to CC members.
  • R Armstrong: I will send a draft to CCTT members first, so they can check for accuracy.
  • A Mackenzie: if lockdown-lifting permits, could there be a walk-through of the area. For me, this meeting showed what public realm TT is responsible for at either side of the tram-route.
  • In my area, there is much road-traffic change from various schemes. We are concerned that these changes are not being properly co-ordinated with TT work. Can we get a cumulative map?
  • R Armstrong: I have asked the CPZ team – drawings are not yet updated btu should be available in mid-April. A cumulative view would be helpful.
  • M Birch: when will TROs move to the next stage?
  • R Leech: They will go out on 13 April, to avoid the consultation clashing with easter holidays.
  • R Armstrong: this also aligns with the CPZ publication.
  • R Leech: they will go through due process. The consultation will last 28 days.
  • H Tobermann: concerning lowering of Leith Walk crossing points and making waiting-places, so wheelchairs etc can cross and wait for safe opportunities, is the design ready?
  • R Armstrong: these points will be in place. I will send you a list of their locations and distances between them.

4.d Changes to completion dates for key phases and the overall project

  • R Leech: TT is confident that the project will deliver on schedule.