FOI Request - Allocation of Funds for Cloddach Bridge

Request 101003419572

1. Where has the £1.5 million set aside by the council for this project gone and why is more money now needed from a renewable energy fund?

2. Why will this bridge cost £3 million to build? Can the council provide a detailed breakdown of how the £3 million for the bridge project will be allocated and spent?

3. Why are there significant discrepancies between a world-renowned bridge builder’s estimate (including contractor costs) and the council's allocated fund for the bridge reconstruction? What factors contributed to this difference? What justifications exist for exceeding a quote by a world-renowned bridge builder by such a significant margin?

4. Why would it cost £187,000 to 'find a business case for the bridge' - according to Buckie SNP councillor, John Stuart? As per David Mackay’s article in the Press & Journal on 4th October 2023.

5. How does the council handle the procurement and bidding process for such projects, and what measures are in place to prevent the submission of exaggerated or unreasonably high quotes?

6. Are there any regulations or guidelines in place to ensure competitive pricing and fair competition among contractors? If so, please provide details. If not, please explain why.

7. What measures are in place to oversee the use of funds for such projects, and how was it possible for the initial £1.5 million set aside by the council to now be insufficient for the project? Please provide details. If you can’t, please explain why.

8.  Were there any specific requirements, standards, or constraints that could explain the variation in cost estimates?

9. Has the council conducted a thorough cost-benefit analysis of the various bridge construction options? If so, please provide these. If not, please explain why.

10. Has the council compared the costs and management of this project to similar bridge reconstruction projects in the region or in other areas to ensure cost-effectiveness? If so, please provide details. If not, please explain why.

Clarification sought 15-11-2023

Clarification received 16-11-2023

Response 20-11-2023

1. Moray Council has identified £1.5 million in it's capital budget for 2024/25 as match funding for the repair of Cloddach Bridge, as required by UK Government to secure the grant funding of £1.5 million announced in the Chancellors budget in March 2023.  

2. The cost of replacing the bridge has been estimated by the structural engineers employed by the council to produce a pre-feasibility study, and a breakdown of this cost is provided in the pre-feasibility report, which is available on the Council's website (

3. The cost estimates for the proposed replacement bridge are based on the design of a compliant bridge with a design life of 120 years and high level site information.  The costs were estimated by the design engineer and checked with one of the council's framework contractors.  The council is confident that the estimated costs are as accurate as they can be at this stage in the project.  These costs will be refined during the development of the business case required to secure grant funding from the UK Government.  From the information provided the estimate from Janson Bridging appears to be based on approximate length and width only, which would account for the discrepancy.

4. A breakdown of the activities required to develop a business case, along with associated costs, is provided on the council's website.

5. The development of the business case was awarded through a framework, which is pre-tendered nationally to ensure best value.

6. Procurement Legislation, namely the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 and Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2015 & 2016. The Moray Council's Procurement Procedures which are accessible at

7. Projects such as Cloddach Bridge are managed by suitably qualified and experienced council officers. The £1.5 million is not at this stage considered insufficient; this allowance is based on an estimated cost which will be reviewed during the development of the business case.

8. The council considers the whole life costs of a bridge, including construction, environmental constraints, site conditions and ongoing maintenance costs.

9. A cost benefit analysis will be undertaken during the development of the business case for Cloddach Bridge.

10. The cost of developing the business case for Cloddach Bridge is similar to the cost of developing the business case for Lossiemouth footbridge. Allowing for inflation, the cost of this work represents current market value.

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