Morton Fraser, one of the largest independent law firms in Scotland, has been appointed by ministers to provide legal services for public local inquiries.
The contract is for an initial two years with the option to extend to four.
Morton Fraser will also provide legal support for other types of inquiry involving Scottish ministers or the UK government, which may be required to resolve planning consent.
Inquiries ensure that ministers are fully informed on planned road improvements, and objectors, for example by those living nearby, are properly considered.
The most significant project currently involving public local inquiries is the dualling of the A9 from Perth to Inverness, with a budget of £3bn.
‘Transport Scotland is undertaking some vital infrastructure upgrades, which are strategically important to the country,’ said partner in Morton Fraser’s public sector team, Douglas Milne.
‘Our role under our appointment is to support Transport Scotland in the public local inquiry process, ensuring that the evidence is presented in a way which ultimately provides the greatest assistance to ministers when taking their decisions on the proposals.
‘As an independent, Scottish firm, we take great pride in our relationship with Scottish ministers and the UK Government and look forward to supporting Transport Scotland through a series of vital road improvements in the coming years.’
Morton Fraser began supporting public local inquiries for Scottish ministers and the UK government in 2012, and this is the second consecutive re-appointment of the firm to this contract, which is competitively tendered.
‘The challenges now facing infrastructure improvement projects are not to be underestimated,’ added chairman, Maggie Moodie.
‘The complexities of delivering major improvements during the Covid-19 pandemic are significant. Transport Scotland has had to quickly adapt, often at the front line. Helping the public sector to navigate these circumstances is of the utmost importance to our team.’
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