Infrastructure Commission

Role of the group

The Commission will provide independent, informed advice on the vision, ambition and priorities for a 30-year strategy for infrastructure in Scotland to meet our future economic growth and societal needs.  

This independent Commission will support the Scottish Government’s delivery of its National Infrastructure Mission and development of the next Infrastructure Investment Plan until 2023.

It will advise on the key strategic and early foundation investments to significantly boost economic growth and support delivery of Scotland’s low carbon objectives and achievement of our climate change targets.

Following the completion of a report, the Commission will provide advice to ministers on the delivery of infrastructure in Scotland, including the possible creation of a Scottish National Infrastructure Company.

The Advisory Commission will report on infrastructure ambitions and priorities by the end of 2019, and may make interim recommendations e.g. around guiding principles supporting the evolution of a coherent Infrastructure Investment Plan across sectors.

It is anticipated that a following six-month period will be required to consider recommendations on delivery models

The Commission will work in a way, which is:

  • engaging and widely consultative across all of Scotland and civic society
  • credible, objective and evidence-based
  • outward looking, forward thinking and innovative

It should pay attention to strategic drivers such as:

  • securing Scotland’s international competitiveness
  • the markets and connections Scotland requires for goods, services and people
  • how to prioritise investment to deliver inclusive economic growth and low carbon objectives
  • demographic and other social change factors
  • place-making
  • technological change and innovation
  • considerations around development, ownership and financing of infrastructure, including Fair Work

The Commission will determine how to progress its work, and may use future-focused scenario planning tools or existing or new research and evidence.  

Members will be responsible for:

  • bringing specific skills and experience
  • providing expert, impartial advice
  • engaging widely with stakeholders including industry, expert and interest groups, government, local government and public bodies, civic society and the public

Overarching objectives include:

  • delivering sustainable inclusive economic growth across Scotland
  • managing the transition to a more resource efficient, lower carbon economy
  • supporting delivery of efficient, high quality, modern public services
  • increasing industry competitiveness, whilst tackling inequality
  • enhancing societal living conditions now and in the future
  • ensuring alignment with the new National Planning Framework

The Scottish Government defines infrastructure as:

“The physical and technical facilities, and fundamental systems necessary for the economy to function and to enable, sustain or enhance societal living conditions.

These include the networks, connections and storage relating to enabling infrastructure of transport, energy, water, telecoms, digital and internet, to permit the ready movement of people, goods and services. They include the built environment of housing; public infrastructure such as education, health, justice and cultural facilities; safety enhancement such as waste management or flood prevention; and public services such as emergency services and resilience.”


Ian Russell CA, CBE, Chair

He is currently chair of Scottish Futures Trust and HICL Infrastructure Company, a non-executive director of Mercantile Investment Trust and Herald Investment Trust and a trustee of National Museums of Scotland.

From 1994 to 2006, he was an executive director of Scottish Power Plc, initially as Finance Director for seven years and then as Chief Executive for a further five years, during which time he led the UK Government Commission investigating the development of a National Youth Volunteering Strategy.

Previously he held senior finance roles at a number of organisations including Tomkins, HSBC and Mars. Since 2006 Mr Russell has been a non-executive director in a variety of commercial and public sector organisations.

His previous appointments included non-executive roles at BlackRock Income and Growth Trust, British Polythene Industries, Johnston Press, Remploy and Advanced Power. He served on the Council of Edinburgh International Festival and the Scottish Council of the Prince's Trust and was Chair of the Campaign Board for the University of Edinburgh.

He is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, having trained with Thomson McLintock. He holds a BCom (Hons) from the University of Edinburgh.