Scottish Government urged to rethink infrastructure policy

Hannah Smith

THE Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) in Scotland has called on the newly-elected Scottish Government to make sure that infrastructure lies the heart of strategic decision making in the post-Covid economic recovery period.

ICE Scotland director Hannah Smith said, “Scotland’s infrastructure is worth billions of pounds, but historic under-investment means portions of it are deteriorating and failing to realise their full benefit to the economy. From the water we drink and the power we use, to the roads and railways we travel on and the buildings we occupy – infrastructure underpins every aspect of our lives.

“Good infrastructure can improve places, productivity, health and wellbeing – poor or inefficient infrastructure can lead to economic and societal disruption, as well as, in extreme cases, risks to health and safety.

“If the new Scottish Government is to successfully rebuild the economy, it must re-think infrastructure policy. The priority areas of resiliency, procurement, strategic thinking and utilising professional expertise are where action must start.”

ICE, which has over 8,500 members in Scotland, has appealed to ministers to focus on four areas of action:

  • Resiliency: auditing Scotland’s infrastructure to ensure it is fit for purpose, now and in the future.
  • Procurement: changing procurement policy so smaller contractors are not disadvantaged and the supply chain is supported, particularly at a local level.
  • Strategy: developing policies on infrastructure planning, investment and prioritisation must be for the long-term, not short-term political cycles.
  • Professionalism: utilising the expertise of ICE Scotland members in planning, designing, building, maintaining and managing our infrastructure needs to be recognised in policy development, delivery and procurement.