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.

Chapter 4: Theme 1: Enabling the Transition to Net Zero Emissions and Environmental Sustainability

Some achievements from our last, 2015 Infrastructure Investment Plan

  • The Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme has awarded over £52 million of grant funding to low carbon demonstration projects across Scotland which encourage replication and wider uptake of innovative renewable technology. 
  • £42 million has been spent annually on flood protection to properties and businesses across Scotland including the £1 billion Dundee Waterfront.

Scotland's world leading legislation – The Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019 – set new, tighter targets to achieve net zero domestic greenhouse gas emissions by 2045. Interim targets are set for 2020, 2030 and 2040, for emissions reductions of 56%, 75% and 90% respectively, requiring action in all sectors. 

This will require transformative action across all sectors of the economy and across society. The Scottish Government's investment in publicly-funded infrastructure has a critical role to play in supporting the transition – committing to multi-year investments in this Plan sends a clear signal to supply chains to invest in people and technology, and help us deliver the net zero transition. But it is only a share of the effort, and cannot deliver such targets on its own. It also requires UK and international action, such as in reserved policy areas of energy and aviation. Regulation, resource investment, incentives, business and individual behaviour change all have roles to play.

We already invest £1.8 billion of capital each year in low carbon policies and programmes. Scottish Ministers have committed to increasing the level of spending by an additional £2 billion over the next five years. New schemes have already been announced in Programme for Government 2020, deploying £1.6 billion of this investment, and in the Climate Change Plan update[30] with £400 million of additional schemes. This update set out a full range of emissions reduction policies to secure our net zero ambitions, including new policies and outlining where existing policies have been boosted or accelerated since the initial plan in 2018.

We know that 1 in 11 homes and 1 in 7 businesses in Scotland are already at risk of flooding and, on average, around 2,000 more properties will be at risk every year due to climate change. We have set out how Scottish Government will increase resilience to climate change and invest more in adaptation measures to protect our homes, businesses and places from flood risk. Investing in coastal change adaptation will help protect our natural defences which protect an estimated £10 billion worth of assets.

Scotland's natural capital is fundamental to our economy and our wellbeing. It supplies the energy and resources on which many industries depend and is the essence of our global brand. It supports our health and quality of life, providing the essentials we all need to survive and thrive, and protecting our communities from flooding and extreme weather. It plays a vital role in tackling climate change – removing carbon from the atmosphere and securing it in natural habitats. Natural areas or systems that are managed to provide multiple benefits for the environment and human wellbeing can be described as 'natural infrastructure'.

Investment in natural infrastructure creates significant opportunities for improving biodiversity and reducing emissions, while also creating jobs and a wide range of health and wellbeing benefits, including improved urban air quality and protection from flooding.

Case Study

Glenrothes Energy Network

In 2016, the Scottish Government's Low Carbon Transition Infrastructure Programme, which is co-funded by the European Development Fund provided £8.6 million of support to the Glenrothes Energy Network. The remainder of funding was provided by RWE and Fife Council. 

The project is utilising the heat loss from the RWE biomass combined heat and power (CHP) plant based in Markinch in an ambitious district heating network, which includes thermal storage and a back-up energy centre to supply low carbon heat to a wide range of local customers in the centre of Glenrothes. The Glenrothes Energy Network was officially opened on the 25 April 2019. It is successfully delivering low carbon heating to Fife House complex, Rothes Halls and the sheltered housing complex at Jubilee Grove.

Theme 1: What the Infrastructure Investment Plan will deliver: 2021-22 to 2025-26
Purpose Plans
Decarbonising transport & active travel We will aid the transformation of our surface-transport systems. We will invest:
  • Over £500 million over five years in active travel, the majority of which will be for active travel infrastructure including reallocating road space in favour of walking, wheeling and cycling, encouraging active travel for shorter every day journeys. 
  • To support public sector fleet investment in alternatives to petrol and diesel and support a range of low and zero carbon transport initiatives with £287 million investment from our Future Transport Fund.
  • £50 million to support 'Active Freeways' – high quality arterial active travel routes. 
  • £120 million to support the transition to zero-emission buses. 
  • A further £495 million investment in improved bus priority infrastructure to tackle the impacts of congestion on bus services, making journey times shorter and services more reliable, encouraging people to leave their cars at home and to take the bus. 
  • Over £3.8 billion in the operation, maintenance and sustainable renewal of a high performing rail network for passengers and freight.
  • £550 million for decarbonisation of rail infrastructure projects as part of the £1.23 billion worth of investment in major project enhancements.
Decarbonising heat and transforming our buildings through energy efficiency We will invest £1.6 billion to reduce demand for heat through improved energy efficiency measures and eliminate emissions from space and water heating in buildings by 2045 through higher standards for new buildings, including a Net Zero Standard for new public buildings, and replacing existing fossil-fuel systems with renewable and zero-emission heat:
  • £465 million for domestic energy efficiency programmes, Warmer Homes Scotland and the Area Based Schemes to support decarbonisation of existing building stock and support progress towards eliminating poor energy efficiency as a driver of fuel poverty. 
  • Over £623 million to support heat decarbonisation and energy efficiency in all buildings, community energy, decarbonising the lslands and energy innovation.
  • At least £95 million to decarbonise the public sector estate.
  • Opening the £50 million Green Recovery Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme (LCITP) in 2021-22 and over £350 million for the development of a successor programme with the LCITP capable of deploying low carbon infrastructure at scale.
  • £25 million for zero carbon energy infrastructure and heat networks for residential and commercial premises along the river Clyde's path.
We will invest up to £58 million in the Biomes project at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh to transform the garden's estate – home to Scotland's national biodiversity research collections – to improve carbon management and environmental public engagement.
Decarbonising industry, including manufacturing We will support industry and manufacturing to transform, overcoming private sector investment and transition challenges through:
  • £180 million for an Emerging Energy Technologies Fund to support carbon capture and storage (CCS), negative emissions technologies (NETs) and hydrogen development.
  • A £34 million Scottish Industrial Energy Transformation Fund for energy efficiency technologies and decarbonisation studies.
  • A £26 million Low Carbon Manufacturing Challenge Fund for innovation in technology, processes and infrastructure.
We will support businesses in the energy sectors as they grow and diversify, and help attract private sector investment, including through our £60 million Energy Transition Fund, focused on the North East, and helping the wider energy sector and supply chain.
Supporting a circular economy We wish to re-think how we use and re-use materials and how we handle waste. Alongside development of a route map to reduce waste and meet our not out waste and recycling targets for 2025, we will invest up to £75 million to improve local authority recycling collection infrastructure, accelerate of the landfill gas capture and improve waste data through electronic waste tracking.
Boosting resilience and adaptation In support of enhanced adaptation and climate resilience as part of a green recovery, we will invest:
  • An extra £150 million in flood risk management. This uplift complements £42 million provided annually to Councils.
  • Almost £12 million in coastal change adaptation to help us adapt to the threat of sea level rises and protect our assets.
  • £60 million to support climate adaptation and resilience measures on the trunk road network.
Investing in our natural capital We will increase forest cover, reaching 18,000 hectares of new woodland in 2024-25. As part of a £283 million programme, we will:
  • Invest £100 million extra for new planting and £30 million for Forestry and Land Scotland to expand national forests and land.
  • Provide £20 million to further increase tree nursery capacity, investing in new and redeveloped facilities. 
We will spend £50 million in a programme of investment supporting reuse of vacant and derelict land as part of a fair, green recovery. Peatland restoration has a key role in responding to climate emergency and biodiversity challenges. We will increase it by:
  • Investing £20 million per year towards our 10-year £250 million commitment to restore 20,000 ha annually, and 250,000 ha by 2030.


Email: InfrastructureInvestmentStrategy@gov.scot

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