Page last updated at 10:52 GMT, Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Committee

The Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee took evidence on Scotland's transport infrastructure during the recent severe weather conditions on 8 March 2011.

Main road routes were blocked for days at the height of the weather crisis.

George Mair from the Confederation of Passenger Transport Scotland told MSPs that in future, bus routes needed to be treated as top priority for gritters.

At one point the main east to west route between Glasgow and Edinburgh, the M8, was completely closed for 48 hours.

The chaos led to the resignation of the Scottish transport minister Stewart Stevenson.

His successor Keith Brown told MSPs the whole transport network had learned valuable lessons, there was much greater co-operation between agencies; and new systems were being trialled, even salt.

On a separate transport issue, Transport Minister Keith Brown was asked whether the Scottish Government will have to compensate BP for potential damage to its pipeline during construction of the new Forth road bridge.

MSP Rob Gibson asked why the contingent liability was not raised during the passage of the Forth Crossing Bill.

Mr Brown said it had been discussed confidentially and stated reasons of security as to why it was not made explicit earlier.

When questioned about the chances of the Scottish Government having to make a payout, he said that it is "extremely unlikely".

However, Mr Brown added that if the payment did have to be made, the Government would have to find that from its own resources.

The committee also heard from David Lister from BAA Scotland; Ralph Roberts from the Confederation of Passenger Transport Scotland; Steve Montgomery from First ScotRail and Ron McAulay and David Simpson from Network Rail.

Others giving evidence included Jim Barton from Transport Scotland and Frances Duffy from the Scottish Government.

Transport Committee membership

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