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Post-Covid recovery will need a focus on Scotland’s ‘failing’ infrastructure – engineering body

The best opportunity for stimulating the Scottish economy and aiding post-Covid recovery is to focus on the country’s multi-billion pound infrastructure.

The call comes from the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) in Scotland, which is urging the newly-elected Scottish Government to ensure infrastructure takes its place at the heart of strategic decision making.

The organisation has more than 8,500 members in Scotland, drawn from public, private and academic sectors, who design, build and maintain Scotland’s transport, water, flooding, energy and waste infrastructure.

It has appealed to ministers to focus on four areas of action:

  • Resiliency: auditing Scotland’s infrastructure to ensure it is fit for purpose, now and in the future.
  • Procurement: changing procurement policy so smaller contractors are not disadvantaged and the supply chain is supported, particularly at a local level.
  • Strategy: developing policies on infrastructure planning, investment and prioritisation for the long-term, not short-term political cycles.
  • Professionalism: utilising the expertise of ICE Scotland members in planning, designing, building, maintaining and managing infrastructure needs to be recognised in policy development, delivery and procurement.

ICE Scotland director Hannah Smith said: “Scotland’s infrastructure is worth billions of pounds, but historic under-investment means portions of it are deteriorating and failing to realise their full benefit to the economy.

“From the water we drink and the power we use, to the roads and railways we travel on and the buildings we occupy – infrastructure underpins every aspect of our lives.

“Good infrastructure can improve places, productivity, health and wellbeing – poor or inefficient infrastructure can lead to economic and societal disruption, as well as, in extreme cases, risks to health and safety.

“If the new Scottish Government is to successfully rebuild the economy, it must re-think infrastructure policy,” she continued, adding: “The priority areas of resiliency, procurement, strategic thinking and utilising professional expertise are where action must start.”

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