RESIDENTS and firms who suffered years of tramworks misery are being urged to compile "super-complaints" to go before the former Lord Advocate leading the inquiry into the troubled project.

Lord Hardie, chairman of the Edinburgh Tram Inquiry, said he wants the voices of those affected by the project to be heard. The scheme led to repeated building works and road closures amid claims some firms went out of business as a result.

He said lessons must be learned from the flawed planning and construction programme which saw the trams rolled out in May years late and significantly over budget.

A spokesman for the inquiry said those with evidence to give to the inquiry should now consider joining forces, while a trams source said such super-complaints could be compiled from "multiple dossiers" already established by groups and firms.

A spokesman for the inquiry team said it is not yet known when people will be asked to come forward with their evidence.

Lord Hardie "will in due course be keen to hear from members of the public, local businesses, developers and other interested parties on the consequences of the cost over-runs, delays and reduction in scope", he said.

The spokesman added: "At the appropriate time there will be a request for evidence from members of the public affected by the delay and by the restricted nature of the project that was ultimately delivered.

"In the meantime those affected should consider joining together with others similarly affected to prepare written evidence about their experiences."

It is unclear at this stage how many will come forward but concerns have been raised by people along the line and beyond from the west of the city to Granton in the north.

It is expected groups including community councils who have previously mobilised together, trade associations and district business federations - many of whom have sought compensation over disruption caused - will be among those to present written evidence to the inquiry.

The launch of the inquiry's new website now is a key milestone in the establishment of the process which is still in its infancy and could take two years.

Details on the website include an overview of the purpose of inquiry, an explanation of the process involved, and information on the team that has been appointed to support Lord Hardie.

Lord Hardie is currently retrieving and reviewing documents in order to scope what future investigative work is required and meeting with some of the key personnel involved in the planning and construction phase of the Edinburgh Trams project.

Lord Hardie said: "I am determined to ensure we conduct a robust, timely and effective inquiry and one that will get the answers the public demands to ensure lessons are learnt for future major infrastructure projects."

The Scottish Government took action after some of those involved in the project refused "point-blank" to co-operate, Lord Hardie said.

He said: "Our preliminary investigations, contacting people who we thought might be of assistance, threw up the problem.

"Some people refused point blank to co-operate, others just didn't answer letters.

"It became clear to me that if that persisted then the whole process could be frustrated and certainly take a period of time that was unacceptable to me."

The trams began operating on May 31 after six years of disruption and a long-running dispute between Edinburgh City Council and contractors.

The eventual cost of £776 million was more than double the sum first earmarked for the project.