Recent storms reinforce ‘urgent’ need for Scottish infrastructure audit

Hannah Smith

STORMS Arwen and Barra have once again highlighted why a review of Scotland’s infrastructure must be made a priority, the country’s leading source of expertise in civil engineering policy has told Project Scotland.

The storms saw wind gusts of up to 98mph cause devastation across the UK with three people tragically losing their lives, thousands of trees blown over, and more than a million homes left without power when lines were brought down.

In it’s 2020 ‘State of the Nation’ report, the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Scotland warned the climate emergency would make extreme weather events more likely with potentially devastating consequences for the infrastructure which underpins every aspect of our economy and society.

ICE Scotland director Hannah Smith said, “Globally, we are seeing extreme weather events challenge our infrastructure. Just a few weeks ago, Canadian highways were washed away. December also saw flooding in Australia, and of course here in Scotland we contended with storms.

“It’s clear, here and around the world, that significant portions of our infrastructure simply cannot withstand these pressures. If left unaddressed this problem will only get worse.

“Infrastructure failures hit our communities across the country and have a massive impact on our economy. We must act urgently to address this with specific actions to deliver more resilient infrastructure across Scotland.”

ICE Scotland has repeatedly called for an audit to prioritise which parts of our infrastructure are most at risk from extreme weather.

Smith continued, “Such an audit, bringing together the public, private, third and academic sectors would determine areas of most fragility, assess where adaptation works could add most value and lead to direct action from industry and government.

“A resiliency audit would determine the baseline, on which we can collectively build.”