A National Mission with Local Impact: Infrastructure Investment Plan for Scotland 2021-22 to 2025-26

The Infrastructure Investment Plan outlines a coherent, and strategic approach to delivering our National Infrastructure Mission. The Plan demonstrates the vital role infrastructure has to play in helping businesses and communities to adapt and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Annex C: Carbon Assessment of the Infrastructure Investment Plan

The Scottish Government has used low, neutral and high carbon categories (known as a taxonomy approach), as shown in the table below, to analyse planned infrastructure spend for individual years. The categorisation was developed and proposed by the Low Carbon Infrastructure Taskforce in 2015.[45]

Category Description Examples
Low Carbon Seen as necessary to the low carbon transition Transport – bus, rail and ferry

Energy – all renewable generation and electricity transmission and distribution

Rural affairs and the environment – waste

Housing – energy efficiency programmes
Neutral Do not represent substantial carbon efficiency gains in their own right but are consistent with low carbon ambitions Rural affairs and the environment – all non-waste

Housing – all non-energy efficiency

Water, Digital, Health, Schools, Justice

Culture and heritage

High carbon Relatively carbon intensive Transport – roads and airports

Energy – fossil fuel generation

The most recent analysis of Budget 2021-22 estimates that 36.9% of the capital budget for the next financial year can be classed as Low Carbon and 8.5% in the High Carbon category. While it is not directly comparable, a high level analysis of the profile of the Infrastructure Investment Plan has shown that it reflects a similar share of Low Carbon investment to Budget 2021-22.

As presented in the draft Infrastructure Investment Plan, there are a number of reasons why the taxonomy approach gives only a partial or crude estimate of the actual emissions reductions, principally that it does not capture all measures within the Budget, particularly those in the Neutral category.

In passing the 2019 Climate Change (Emissions Reduction) Act in Scotland, the Parliament agreed that a new methodology should be developed in order to assess the contribution made by the infrastructure investment plan to the new targets.

In order to respond to this new requirement, and in recognition of the limitations of the current approach, an independent research project was commissioned to explore alternative options. This report recognises that this is a relatively new area of analysis and suggested four different approaches to consider. 

In the draft Infrastructure Investment Plan, the Scottish Government set out that it is minded to explore further the deployment of a more detailed methodology or methodologies. This approach was supported by the majority of respondents. 

The Scottish Government will take this forward in conjunction with the Joint Review of Budget. Developing this new approach will form part of the five year implementation plan for our decision-making framework set out in the forthcoming Infrastructure Investment Plan. This will also support the next Climate Change Plan. We will report on the development of our approach as part of the annual reporting on the Infrastructure Investment Plan. 


Email: InfrastructureInvestmentStrategy@gov.scot

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