Mediator paid £3000 per day for trams talks


By Kirsty Topping


The trams have been a thorn in the side for many in the capital

A MEDIATOR acting to calm tensions between the company building Edinburgh’s tram lines and the council was paid 3000 a day, it has been revealed.

London-based consultant Michael Shane was drafted in after talks between Bilfinger Berger and the local authority came to a standstill.

And his 14,700 bill for five days of work has been slammed by critics – as it was revealed that someone else offered to do the job for free.

Margo MacDonald, Independent MSP of the Lothians, said:

“This is a hefty bill for something that could have been done free.

“John Campbell QC offered to mediate for nothing.

“This is a man who was counsel to the enquiry into the building of the Scottish Parliament.

“I thought he would have been more than able to mediate between these two groups.

“It was a wasted opportunity from the council to show that they could save money on the tram project for once. “

The talks took place in March at the upmarket Ma Hall hotel in Glasgow.

Tram chiefs racked up nearly 13,000 on accommodation and expenses, bringing the total cost of the

“intensive’ meetings to almost 28,000 – or almost 6000 a day.

Emma Boon of the Taxpayer’s alliance said:

“It’s seriously disappointing that after so much time and money spent on this project already there is still such poor communication between the two sides.

“Ordinary taxpayers shouldn’t have to fork out for mediation because those in charge of the tram project can’t agree.

“It’s in everyone’s interests that these differences are resolved as quickly as possible, so that no more taxpayer’s money is wasted. “

Official deemed the talks, which reportedly went on until 3am, successful after it was announced that work on the scheme would restart.

A Spokesman for TIE, which manages the tram project for the council, said:

“Mediation was an essential step in moving forward to deliver trams for the city, drawing on the required expertise to restart work, deliver value for the investment made so far and deliver long term transport benefits for Edinburgh. “

Michael Shane has been involved in the mediation of disputes across the globe. He was unavailable for comment today.