A National Mission with Local Impact - draft infrastructure investment plan 2021‑2022 to 2025‑2026: consultation

We are consulting on this Draft Infrastructure Investment Plan which covers the financial years 2021-2022 to 2025-2026 and outlines a coherent approach to delivering our National Infrastructure Mission and demonstrates the vital role infrastructure has to play in enabling inclusive, net zero and sustainable growth.

Chapter 4 - Consultation Questions

Why we are consulting

Earlier this year the Infrastructure Commission for Scotland made recommendations about the right future infrastructure priorities for an inclusive, net zero emissions economy in Scotland. This plan accepts their recommendations and shows how they will be implemented.

During the first half of 2019, the Infrastructure Commission undertook widespread engagement on infrastructure priorities. We have already considered the feedback received by the Commission in response to its Call for Evidence. We do not seek to repeat this engagement. The purpose of this consultation is to seek wide-ranging views and feedback on some specific areas around the ways we plan to implement the Commission’s recommendations, to ensure the right final approach.

Responding to this Consultation

We are inviting responses to this consultation by 19 November 2020.

Please respond to this consultation using the Scottish Government’s consultation hub, Citizen Space (http://consult.gov.scot). Access and respond to this consultation online at https://consult.gov.scot/infrastructure-and-investment-division/draft-infrastructure-investment-plan/. You can save and return to your responses while the consultation is still open. Please ensure that consultation responses are submitted before the closing date of 19 November 2020.

If you are unable to respond using our consultation hub, please complete the Respondent Information Form (provide at Annex D) and send to:

Email: InfrastructureInvestmentStrategy@gov.scot

By post:

Infrastructure Investment Plan Consultation
3-C North
Victoria Quay

What happens next?

Following the closing date, all responses will be analysed and considered along with any other available evidence. The Scottish Government will publish responses, where respondents have given permission for their response to be made public, and a report summarising responses will also be made available.

Responses to some questions we have asked will directly inform the final Plan to be published later this year, in particular questions under sections 1, 2 and 4 below. As this is a significant turning point in our approach to infrastructure it will be important to take time to test and implement the right interventions where appropriate. We anticipate that responses to section 3 inform our future programme of improvements. These will be developed with further testing over time, and considered alongside other strategic developments, to ensure they deliver the right outcomes.

1. The inclusion of natural infrastructure in our definition

Our natural environment can play an important role in our infrastructure system and generate benefits to the economy and society – as well as help to tackle climate change and other challenges such as biodiversity loss and poor air quality.

The Government would like to revise its infrastructure definition to include references to natural infrastructure, and offers proposes the following changes (shown in green):

“The physical and technical facilities, natural and other 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 the 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; natural assets and networks; and public services such as emergency services and resilience.”

These proposed changes will help ensure investment in natural infrastructure can be considered and prioritised equally, alongside other areas, and that progress on our plans to boost natural infrastructure will be equally transparent and can be scrutinised on a consistent basis by Parliament.

1a) Do you support the inclusion of natural infrastructure in our definition of infrastructure?

Yes / No / Unsure

1b) Do you agree with the wording proposed for the revised definition?

Yes / No / Unsure

1c) If you do not agree, please provide your suggested changes and additional material to support your answers [200 word limit]:

2. How we should prioritise – a common investment hierarchy

The Scottish Government has accepted the Commission’s suggestion to develop an ‘investment hierarchy’ which prioritises maintaining and enhancing existing assets over new build. On pages 22-23 we propose a new common hierarchy, to aid planning and decision-making and drive future investment choices.

In practice, this means that the following steps would need to be considered, in turn, before deciding the right investment plans.

1. Determine future need.

2. Maximise use of existing assets.

3. Repurpose & Co-locate.

4. Replace or New Build.

For example, something new might only be built if there is still a demonstrable service need for a facility, and an existing asset cannot be re-purposed. In future, this will mean that a higher proportion of investment and resource is likely to be directed towards the initial steps in the hierarchy than in previous years.

2a) Do you agree that the steps proposed in the common investment hierarchy are the right ones?

Yes / No / Unsure

2b) If you think any adjustments are needed to the proposed investment hierarchy, please provide suggested changes (and evidence, where appropriate) to support your answers:

3. How we best assess the impact of proposed infrastructure

The Infrastructure Commission recommended a new assessment framework is developed, in advance of the next Infrastructure Investment Plan, to inform decisions about future infrastructure investment so that it best achieves desired outcomes.

On page 24 we have set out the challenges in comparing the potential benefits of different types of infrastructure. It is not easy to compare investment in a school, hospital, or new digital public service, for example, because they may all deliver positive outcomes but not necessarily using comparable evidence or over the same timeframe.

We are considering how best to develop our new approach and welcome views about the best way forward. This is likely to take the form of a suite or ‘dashboard’ of indicators, as shown in the diagram on page 25, to allow for a range of factors to be taken into account in any assessment, balancing potential trade-offs. This approach would be consistent with the National Performance Framework. Responses to questions in this section will inform our work to develop a common assessment framework.

3a) Do you agree that a dashboard of indicators is the best approach to enable informed decisions to be taken about the long-term trade-offs and choices in our infrastructure investments? Please provide the reasons for your response.

3b) What outcomes (and/or indicators) do you think should be included in developing a common assessment framework for prioritising infrastructure investment?

In your response you may wish to consider how any of the suggested factors might:

  • link to the three themes of the Infrastructure Investment Plan (enabling net zero emissions and environmental sustainability; driving inclusive economic growth; and building resilient and sustainable places); and
  • help address inequality, including for protected characteristic groups, and socioeconomic disadvantage.

3c) Are there existing tools or methodologies you are aware of which you think the Scottish Government could draw on or adopt in developing its framework? You may wish to draw on examples from other countries in your response.

4. How we assess the greenhouse gas emissions impact of future Plans

The Scottish Government has used broad categories of low, neutral and high carbon (known as a taxonomy approach) to explain the climate impact of its infrastructure investment.

When considering the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019, Parliament agreed that a new methodology should be developed to improve assessment of the contribution made by infrastructure investment to Scotland’s emissions targets. We have undertaken some research to support this, it is published online at: https://www.climatexchange.org.uk/research/projects/greenhouse-gas-emissions-and-infrastructure-investment-decisions/

The research concludes that a new approach will take time to develop, and we wish to ascertain views on the best way forward. The research presents four options that we should consider in developing a new approach, these are:

1. Updated taxonomy.

2. Absolute emissions.

3. Baseline and intervention.

4. Gap analysis.

A summary of the strengths and weaknesses is set out in Annex C and in the full report.

The Scottish Government is minded to explore further the use of Baseline and Intervention and Gap Analysis approaches which we believe will provide a more useful and meaningful assessment than the current taxonomy approach.

The development of the new approach using one of the methods (or a combination of them) is likely to be an iterative process and will require substantial work to establish the new framework and collect the necessary data. This is noted in the Infrastructure Investment Plan forward programme. We would like our measurement to be internationally comparable, practicable, and to give stakeholders useful information.

4a) Do you support the planned approach to developing a new approach to assessing the contribution made by infrastructure investment to Scotland’s emissions targets?

Yes / No / Unsure

4b) Please explain and support your response with evidence [500 word limit].

5. Strategic Environmental Assessment: Environmental Report

Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is the assessment of the likely significant environmental effects that a public plan, programme or strategy will have on the environment if implemented. Where possible, it proposes how negative effects can be avoided or reduced and identifies opportunities for positive effects to be maximised. An Environmental Report has been published alongside the IIP.

5a) What are your views on the accuracy and scope of the environmental baseline set out in the Environmental Report?

Please give details of additional relevant sources alongside your response.

5b) What are your views on the predicted environmental effects of the IIP as set out in the Environmental Report?

5c) What are your views on the proposals for mitigating, enhancing and monitoring the environmental effects set out in the Environmental Report?


Email: InfrastructureInvestmentStrategy@gov.scot

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