- 30 Jul 2020
Date received: 19 Jun 2020
Date responded: 10 Jul 2020
The outline cost estimates for the Borders Railway and any data on the social economic impact of reopening the line.
As the information you have requested is 'environmental information' for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA.
This exemption is subject to the 'public interest test'. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.
Please find enclosed a copy of the Borders Railway Final Business case which contains the cost assumptions at the time (November 2012) for the construction of the new railway as well as the social inclusion benefits estimated for building the new line. It is important to note that the Borders Railway Commercial Case dated November 2012 sets how it was envisaged that Scottish Ministers would finance the estimated construction cost of the new Borders Railway, using Network Rail's Regulated Asset Base.
This finance mechanism was put in place by the UK Government. Despite the impact of this UK Government imposed finance mechanism, the Scottish Government made the decision to proceed with investment in this vital transport link to the Scottish Borders.
Scottish Ministers have learned key lessons from the Borders Railway. This project again demonstrates the difficulties inherent in rail demand forecasts for new railways. This is one of the reasons why the Scottish Government takes an approach to rail investments reflecting a strategic appreciation of objectives.
I have also attached links below to the year 1 and year 2 evaluation reports which you may find useful as these provide evidence of the success of the Borders Railway which includes socio economic benefits.
Additionally the Borders Railway website is again a source that communicates the success of the Railway and includes case studies.
The link to the site is http://www.bordersrailway.co.uk/
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House