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Scotland won't meet decarbonisation targets without better leadership, says report

01 March 2022

A report commissioned by ICE Scotland has said bolder steps are needed to enable quicker and more effective decarbonisation of the country's infrastructure.

Scotland won't meet decarbonisation targets without better leadership, says report
The proposed £40 million renewables hub at the Port of Leith. Image credit: Forth Ports

A Mott MacDonald report has concluded that Scotland is falling short of targets that must be met in order to decarbonise the country by 2045.

Consultations were held with stakeholders across the infrastructure planning and delivery landscape, including the Scottish government, infrastructure providers, local authorities, academia, and the business sector.

The report sets out policy, legislative, regulatory and industry interventions that need to happen in Scotland over the next four years.

This included increasing leadership and funding and an improved planning and regulatory system that would ensure decarbonisation is embedded in Scottish infrastructure.

How can Scotland ensure it meets its decarbonisation targets?

The report recommends:

  • Create a Scottish infrastructure coalition where key national infrastructure providers and stakeholders can convene to demonstrate leadership, share learnings and plan for an integrated economy-wide transition to net zero-aligned infrastructure.
  • Encourage public sector procurement to include a consistent focus on carbon reduction.
  • Increase investment in planning processes to enable the pace and scale of change required to deliver net zero infrastructure.
  • Use more systems thinking and digital tools that can be used to identify interactions and efficiencies between traditionally separate sectors.
  • Develop a Scottish government good practice note on why and how place-based approaches bring advantages to net zero delivery.

Blueprint for future activity

ICE Scotland Director Hannah Smith said it was clear from the report that there is a huge amount of positive work being done. It was also clear that work must be accelerated or the 2045 commitment to net zero would not be met, she added.

"This report is not a panacea but rather the blueprint for future activity. We believe the first step must be the creation of a forum to utilise the expertise across infrastructure providers and ensure all those involved remain focused on ensuring decarbonisation becomes a reality," she said.

  • Gordon Brown, communications lead at ICE