SNP MSP Colin Keir has welcomed a U-turn by Network Rail who have now agreed to support a bid to win World Heritage Site Status for the Forth Rail Bridge.

In a written answer to Mr Keir, Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop confirmed Network Rail will now support including the bridge on the list for “possible nomination for inscription as a World Heritage site”.

Network Rail had previously failed to support the bid, meaning it could not go ahead.

Mr Keir, SNP MSP for Edinburgh Western, said:

“This is a major stepping stone in winning the Forth Rail Bridge the recognition it deserves.

“It is extremely welcome that Network Rail has decided to change its position and is now supporting the inclusion of the bridge on the Tentative List for nomination for inscription as a World Heritage Site.

“This would recognise the pioneering design of the bridge which is a huge symbol of Scottish engineering and its global status as a recognised image of Scotland.

“If the Forth Rail Bridge was granted World Heritage status, it would become a global attraction, joining the likes of the Taj Mahal and Egypt’s pyramids.

“This would bring huge benefits for this area and boost tourism.

“Scotland has a rich heritage and the Forth Bridge embodies this and rightfully deserves to be recognised in this way.”