THE company at the centre of the Edinburgh trams inquiry has lost its bid to have documents it provided to the probe kept secret.

Bilfinger UK had gone to the Court of Session seeking to block paperwork from being made public, saying the information it contained was "commercially sensitive" and gave details which could aid its competitors.

However, the company has lost its case and the inquiry is now free to publish the information, which includes monthly reports made during the tram project to its group management at its headquarters in Germany.

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Bilfinger had first requested that inquiry chairman Lord Hardie prevent the publication of the documents, who refused on the grounds there was a “strong public interest” in their full release.

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The company then took the case to court seeking to have the decision overturned and an interim interdict imposed on the reports' publication, which has now been rejected by Lord Tyre.

In his judgement, Lord Tyre said: "For the petition to succeed, the court would require to be satisfied not only that the respondent’s [Lord Hardie] decision was wrong but that it was one that no chairman could reasonably have reached on the basis of the material presented to him.

"In my opinion, no such case has been made out."

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The Edinburgh tram project, which caused massive disruption to the capital, was delivered years late and more than £400m over budget.

The inquiry into what went wrong has run for three years and cost £7m.

A spokeswoman for the inquiry said:  “Following careful consideration of the application for redaction, Lord Hardie rejected that application on the basis that the public interest requires transparency and disclosure of material, which will help Lord Hardie to fulfil the remit of the Inquiry and to make reference to the contents of any document where he considers that might help to establish why the Edinburgh Tram Project cost more than originally budgeted and delivered significantly less than projected.

“BCUK sought interim suspension and interim interdict and on 27 and 30 April there was a hearing before Lord Tyre who has issued his opinion today refusing the orders sought.

“In his decision, Lord Hardie considered that BCUK had failed to show why the public interest in disclosing the material was overcome by any private commercial interests of BCUK (or the Bilfinger Group of companies) and he is pleased that the Court has reached a similar view.”