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 A: Infrastructure Commission for Scotland – Background

The Infrastructure Commission for Scotland was established by Scottish Ministers and started work in 2019 to provide independent, informed advice on the vision, ambition and priorities for infrastructure in Scotland to meet our 30-year economic growth and societal needs. 

Chaired by Ian Russell CBE, the group were further tasked with providing additional advice on the delivery of infrastructure in Scotland. The Infrastructure Commission was asked to work with the Scottish Government definition of infrastructure. 


Infrastructure Commission members:

  • Ian Russell CBE, Chair
  • Professor Iain Docherty, University of Stirling
  • Ken Gillespie, Homes for Scotland
  • Benny Higgins
  • Mary Pitcaithly OBE, Scottish Police Authority
  • Rachel Skinner, UK Head of Transport, WSP Global
  • Grahame Smith, General Secretary, Scottish Trades Union Congress
  • Sara Thiam, Chief Executive, Scottish Council for Development and Industry
  • John Trower, Optimity
  • Professor Janette Webb, University of Edinburgh


The Commission was asked to 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; and considerations around development, ownership and financing of infrastructure, including Fair Work.

Commissioners were 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 for the Infrastructure Commission's work

  • 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

Infrastructure Commission for Scotland produced two reports:

Phase 1: Key findings report: A blueprint for Scotland[33]

Phase 2: Delivery Findings Report: A blueprint for Scotland [34]

Principle Detailed Recommendations Accept Scottish Government Response
Leadership 1. The 2020 Infrastructure Investment Plan should be prioritised against available inclusive net zero carbon economy outcomes.

2. Scottish Government should, by 2021, to develop a new infrastructure assessment framework. 

3. Scottish Government should publish, by 2023, a system-wide Infrastructure Needs Assessment. 

4. A fully updated Infrastructure Investment Plan should be developed for publication by 2025, using the new Needs Assessment and framework.
This Infrastructure Investment Plan 2021-22 to 2025-26 prioritises the pipeline of investments against three themes, including enabling net zero emissions and environmental sustainability, and driving inclusive economic growth. 

It sets out a five-year programme of improvements to infrastructure planning, ready to support future Infrastructure Investment Plans. This includes the development of a new infrastructure assessment framework and a system-wide Infrastructure Needs Assessment.
Place 5. There should be Place-based assessment of long-term Scottish housing supply and demand by 2021, supported by a coherent strategy for the labour market and business opportunities from an inclusive net zero economy.

6. To support the implementation of National Planning Framework 4 and the new system of development plans, a co-ordinated and appropriately resourced Infrastructure First approach to the planning system should be introduced by the SG by 2021.
This Plan puts 'Place' at its heart through its third theme focused on building resilient and sustainable places. 

As part of planning reform we will set out interim housing land required (for consultation and scrutiny) in the draft National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4), due in 2021, and will frame this within a new spatial strategy that aligns with our investment programme and principles. Progress towards this was set out in our NPF4 Position Statement in November 2020, including our plans to embed an infrastructure-first approach in national planning policies. 

We will consult in 2021 on regulations and guidance for the new system of local development plans. We will also build on this to further adapt our Housing Planning Delivery Framework[1], to enhance our placed-based assessments of long-term housing need and demand across Scotland through local housing strategies by 2022.
Making the most of existing assets 7. By the end of 2020, all public sector infrastructure asset owners should develop asset management strategies.

8. Scottish Government should issue guidance on a whole-life approach to infrastructure maintenance and prioritisation.

9. There should be a presumption against like-for-like replacement of assets and construction of new, single purpose ones in favour of shared facilities.

10. By 2023, Scottish Government should establish a route map to implement an outcome-focused system of resource use, reduction, collection, treatment & repurposing.

11. By 2023, Scottish Government should develop a clear implementation plan to address critical natural and built infrastructure climate resilience and adaptation.
We will develop a programme of work with Scottish Futures Trust to prepare guidance for public organisations when developing asset management strategies, considering whole-life cost and the new investment hierarchy, as well as wider net zero and inclusive growth priorities. 

Scottish Government is developing a route map to reduce waste and meet out waste and recycling targets for 2025. 

Policies set out in Climate Ready Scotland: Second Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme[35] will be embedded across government. Independent, expert advice from the Adaptation Committee of the Committee on Climate Change will stimulate further progress.
Heat & Transport 12. By end 2020, accelerate development and implementation of incentives, support mechanisms and standards for energy efficient, net zero buildings.

13. By 2022, Scottish Government, local authorities, regulators and industry should establish the viability, incentivisation mechanisms and a route map for the transition to net zero that addresses heat in buildings and surface-based transportation.

14. The National Transport Strategy and Strategic Transport Projects Review 2 should fully reflect the need to deliver an inclusive net zero carbon economy. 

15. By the end of 2021, develop a new Transport investment appraisal and decision-making process, with necessary changes to current guidance.

16. Scottish and UK Governments should commit to work together to establish a charging and payment alternative to the existing fuel and road tax-based regime, to give a more stable, long-term regime for road management and maintenance.
The Climate Change Plan update[36] shows how Scotland will drive down emissions to meet its climate targets up to the year 2032. 

We have committed to £1.6 billion investment in heat and energy efficiency in our homes and buildings. We are rolling out a Net Zero Carbon Public Sector Buildings Standard, ensuring new public buildings are net zero ready.

We will publish a comprehensive Heat in Buildings Strategy and a Hydrogen Policy Statement and will publish a Hydrogen Action Plan later in 2021. These support the Climate Change Plan update and demonstrate the interconnected approach to decarbonisation.

The second National Transport Strategy (NTS2) fully reflects our need to deliver our ambitious net zero targets, with the Sustainable Travel Hierarchy and Sustainable Investment Hierarchy at its core. The NTS2 Delivery Plan reflects the transport element of the Climate Change Plan Update, including our commitment to reduce car kilometres by 20% by 2030. It also includes a new policy to encourage people back on to public transport, post-COVID-19, when it is safe and appropriate to do so.

We are developing our transport appraisal guidance and decision-making processes. This will include considering changes to the approach to assessing emissions impacts associated with infrastructure projects.

We will assess future transport investment decisions through the second Strategic Transport Projects Review; embedding the NTS2 priorities and outcomes and the Sustainable Investment Hierarchy.

Powers relating to Vehicle Excise Duty and Fuel Duty are reserved to UK Government. The Scottish Government has written to the Secretary of State and would welcome constructive discussion with UK Government on these issues.
Regulation 17. Building on the UK National Infrastructure Commission review of Energy and Telecoms regulation, Scottish and UK Governments should work together to develop, by 2021, an appropriately devolved regulatory & pricing framework to meet future needs.

18. Building on existing plans Scottish Government should, by 2021, consider options for delivery and regulatory coherence of water provision and flood management/resilience.
We continue to work with the UK Government and regulators on an underpinning framework in both Energy and Telecoms that is responsive to Scottish needs.[37] 

Work is underway to increase collaboration between water industry and flood management partners.
Digital & Technology 19. Scottish Government should provide the leadership required to ensure delivery of a full fibre network for Scotland by 2027, to enable the transition to 5G country-wide.

20. To increase Scotland's international presence and connectivity, Scottish Government should support an indigenous data-centre market, and investment in fibre-optic cable.

21.  From 2020, Scottish Government should consider the future data requirements and data potential for new publicly-funded infrastructure, and digital services. 
The £600 million Reaching 100% (R100) programme will give people in every part of Scotland access to superfast broadband by end 2021 and will provide a significant number of full fibre connections well in advance of 2027. SG continues to work with UK Government on their commitment to roll out gigabit broadband across the country by 2025.

We are working with Scottish Futures Trust and partners on a strategy and action plan with the datacentre and international connectivity industry. This work will identify and map out future digital connectivity investment opportunities. 

The Scottish Government will continue to work to foster the adoption of open data standards, open data and platform-based business models necessary to realise the future data requirements and potential for publicly funded infrastructure.
The role of the public 22. By 2022, capacity and capability requirements for an informed approach to public engagement and participation are needed, to ensure short and long-term trade-offs are effectively debated, understood and taken into account. SG will build on learning across sectors, including our Climate Assembly, and other countries, to develop an exemplar public engagement approach.
Independent long-term advice 23. By 2021, a body should be given responsibility to provide independent, long-term, evidence-based advice to Ministers on investment decisions for our social, economic and natural infrastructure needs and priorities. defer The Scottish Government is considering this recommendation in conjunction with the findings of the Commission's Phase 2 report in order to fully reflect the Scottish context and decide upon the most appropriate approach. 


Email: InfrastructureInvestmentStrategy@gov.scot

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