New research shows the cost to every taxpayer in Scotland for a second Forth road bridge is £780, the equivalent of £130 in your tax bill every year between now and 2017.

Campaigners are using the figures to highlight the absurdly expensive cost of a second Forth road bridge, the fact that the existing bridge can be repaired for £122m, and to argue for investment in health, education and climate change funding instead.

£2.035bn, the current expected cost of a new bridge, is five times the final cost of the Scottish parliament. Like other major construction projects, the final cost of the bridge could rise higher than the current projection.

For £2.035bn, Scotland could: build 90 brand new low energy schools employ 16,449 nurses for 6 years put 15,074 bobbies on the beat for 6 years insulate 4m lofts and cavity walls; or increase Scotland’s international development fund by over 220 times

Duncan McLaren, Chief Executive at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “The headlines every day tell us that front line services are threatened by coming government spending cuts. We think it is irresponsible in those circumstances to commit £2bn to a new bridge, when the evidence suggests the old one can be repaired at a fraction of the cost, with no greater disruption to traffic.

“We have long acknowleged it was responsible to explore the options in case the old bridge proved irreparable – a sort of insurance policy. But if you have bought insurance against your house falling down, you wouldn’t try to claim on the policy for a new house if you just needed to repair the pointing. It’s verging on the fraudulent for the Government to claim £2bn from the taxpayer to build a new bridge when the existing one can be repaired so cheaply.”

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Per Fischer, Press Office, Friends of the Earth Scotland
t: 0131 243 2719

Notes to editors

The estimated cost of the Forth Crossing is £2.044bn. £2.035bn of this is still to be paid: www.scottish.parliament.uk/business/research/briefings-10/SB10-05.pdf

There are 2.62 million taxpayers in Scotland: www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/income_tax/table2-2.pdf

References to all other figures used available on request.

Friends of the Earth Scotland supports the maintenance of a road bridge across the Forth. A study undertaken by W A Fairhurst and Partners found that replacement of the main cables is technically possible at a cost of £122m.

Friends of the Earth Scotland are members of the ForthRight Alliance, a coalition of groups opposed to the construction of a Second Forth Road Bridge

Friends of the Earth Scotland is the country’s leading independent environmental campaigning organisation, and is the only organisation in Scotland that is working for environmental justice, campaigning for the planet and its people. www.foe-scotland.org.uk