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Infrastructure Commission for Scotland announces new chair

18 December 2018

Long-term holistic approach to investment in the built environment called for by ICE Scotland takes shape

Infrastructure Commission for Scotland announces new chair
Scottish highlands

Ian Russell, current chair of Scottish Futures Trust and HICL Infrastructure Company, and former executive director of Scottish Power, has been named as the chair of the Infrastructure Commission for Scotland.

The appointment was one of a few details that were revealed in a written answer by Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary Michael Matheson to a parliamentary question last week.

An independent commission for Scotland to assess the country’s long-term infrastructure needs and investment priorities is something that ICE Scotland first called for in its 2016 Manifesto for Infrastructure.

The Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure explained that the new Commission will provide advice to Scottish ministers and report by the end of 2019.

Its aims will also be aligned with ICE’s recommendations: having an emphasis on an evidence-based, objective approach and wider engagement.

The Commission will also advise on the key strategic and early foundation investments to boost economic growth and support delivery of Scotland’s low carbon objectives and achievement of climate change targets.

ICE Scotland Regional Director Sara Thiam said: “We’re pleased to get more detail about the Commission and its commitment to an evidence-based, independent assessment of Scotland’s long-term infrastructure needs and wider civic engagement.

“We look forward to working with the Commission to enhance people’s quality of life – now and in the future.”

The details about the Commissioned emerged after Scotland announced an increase in investment of £1.56bn in infrastructure by the end of the next parliament in 2025-26.

ICE Scotland’s flagship State of the Nation Infrastructure Investment Report, published two months ago, called for the infrastructure commission to be independent, so that cross-party consensus could be reached to support a consistent, long-term approach to infrastructure planning and investment.

This is to ensure that the country's infrastructure remains resilient in the face of increased pressures from population growth, more urbanisation, and disruptive technologies.

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