Infrastructure Investment Plan 2021-22 to 2025-26: programme pipeline update - March 2022

This pipeline update provides information relating to the delivery of key major infrastructure programmes included at Annex D of our Infrastructure Investment Plan published in February 2021 and other ongoing key major infrastructure programmes included within previous updates.

Sector: Natural capital

Programme name: New planting and forest expansion

Programme description: New planting and forest expansion.

Estimated total investment: £283 million.

How is programme being funded: Capital funded (£150 million through Low Carbon Fund).

Programme delivery timetable: 2021-22 to 2025-26.

Latest programme progress: The 'draft' Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) Acquisition Strategy was approved by Ministers in December 2021. This sets out the principles under which FLS will use both the £30 million of SG low carbon funding and the FLS strategic funds to acquire land in order to grow Scotland's national forests and land.

Utilising these funds, in 2021-22 FLS acquired 1,082 ha of new land at a total cost of just over £7.2 million. Roughly, half of this land will be plantable for trees with the remainder being managed for habitat, ecological and/or recreational outcomes.

Stepped increases in new planting targets have been set with the aim of achieving 18,000 ha planting in 2024-25. Annual targets are as follows: 2021-22 13,500 ha, 2022-23 15,000 ha, 2023-24 16,500 ha and 2024-25 18,000 ha. Scottish Forestry have approved claims for over 13,000 ha of new woodland creation in 2021-22, however actual planting achieved will not be confirmed until July 2022. It is anticipated that planting will be slightly below the target due to various factors including winter storms and the impact of COVID-19 and Brexit on resource availability.

Plans to implement required infrastructure and resource for longer term ambitions remain in progress and on course with recently publicised recruitment for 33 new posts across the organisation.

Contribution to economic development: A report on the economic contribution of the forestry sector in Scotland showed that Scottish forestry contributes approximately £1 billion GVA (Gross value added) to Scotland's economy every year. GVA measures the contribution to the economy of each individual producer, industry or sector in the UK.

Forestry's economic contribution to Scotland is £954 million GVA: £771 million comes from forestry and timber processing; and £183 million comes from forest recreation and tourism. Employment levels are up with more than 25,000 full time employees now working in the sector.

Forestry and timber processing: contributes £771 million GVA per year to Scotland's economy; and employs 19,555 people (full time) in Scotland. Forest recreation and tourism: contributes £183 million GVA to the Scottish economy every year; and employs 6,312 people (full time) in Scotland. Forestry activities are spread across Scotland, including in rural and remote areas where they generate important income and employment opportunities.

Contact for public enquiries: email:

Programme name: Peatlands

Programme description: Capital investment as part of our 10-year £250 million commitment to restore 20,000 ha annually, and 250,000 ha by 2030.

Estimated total investment: £100 million.

How is programme being funded: Programme currently funding full capital costs of peatland restoration projects delivered by our partners. Looking ahead, a range of alternative funding models will be explored.

Programme delivery timetable: 2020-21 to 2025-26.

Latest programme progress: The new timetable to 2025-26 reflects the commitment up to the end of the five-year Infrastructure Investment Plan. Peatland restoration continues to be progressed across Scotland through the work of our current delivery partners (NatureScot (Peatland Action), Forestry and Land Scotland, Cairngorms National Park, Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park and Scottish Water). In 2021-22, around 8,000 hectares of degraded peatland have been put on the road to recovery.

In October 2021, a new Scottish Government Peatland Programme was established. The programme will develop and deliver policies which protect peatlands and limiting negative impacts from extraction and development, restore degraded peatlands to reduce carbon emissions and support restoration of unique peatland habitats and landscapes and ensure coherence with other policies that have the potential to negatively peatland condition.

Within this new programme, we continue to work with our partners to understand and address the structural, operational and resourcing challenges around significantly upscaling rates of restoration.

Contribution to economic development: Investment in peatland restoration over the coming 10 years will help to support small and medium size businesses that deliver restoration works, often in rural areas. It will also provide opportunities for land owners and land managers, farmers and crofters and third sector bodies. It is estimated that by around 2024, our investment in peatland restoration will support over 200 FTE (full-time equivalent) jobs. Our peatland restoration programme will benefit Scotland's communities as part of a Just Transition to Net Zero. It will improve people's enjoyment of the natural world, provide jobs, and offer many other public benefits to health, education, environmental justice and tourism.

Contact for public enquiries: email:

Programme name: Low Carbon Vacant and Derelict Land Investment Programme

Programme description: The Vacant and Derelict Land Investment Programme (VDLIP) is a capital programme to help with tackling persistent vacant and derelict land and supporting place based approaches to delivering regeneration and sustainable inclusive growth, as part of a 'just transition' to net-zero by 2045. It is a competitive fund open to all 32 local authorities and the Clyde Gateway URC (Urban Regeneration Company).

Estimated total investment: £50 million.

How is programme being funded: Capital funded.

Programme delivery timetable: 2021-22 to 2025-26.

Latest programme progress: In September 2021, 10 successful projects were announced to receive a total of £5 million from the first round of funding for financial year 2021-22. The application process has just concluded for the second round of funding for financial year 2022-23 and will shortly announce the successful projects. Applications will then reopen for round 3 of the fund for financial year 2023-24. Successful projects can be viewed at the Low Carbon Fund: VDLIP projects website.

Contribution to economic development: Scotland currently has more than 11,000 hectares of registered vacant and derelict land which offers significant potential to be brought back to positive use to the benefit of communities. This fund supports projects that prioritise such sites and protect our existing natural capital ensuring that future infrastructure investment goes into areas where it is needed the most, stimulating economic growth, creating jobs, promoting environmental justice and supporting communities to flourish and tackle inequalities.

Contact for public enquiries: email:



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