ICE Scotland welcomes infrastructure investment but emphasises maintenance as important as new

The budget announcements by Scottish Government to continue vital investment in Scotland’s infrastructure have been welcomed by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) this evening

Finance Minister John Swinney’s delivers his speech on increasing infrastructure investment.
Finance Minister John Swinney’s delivers his speech on increasing infrastructure investment.

Director of ICE Scotland, Sara Thiam, said: "Investment in new infrastructure is always welcome, particularly when it improves the lives of Scotland's people and the environment, but commitment to maintenance of all existing infrastructure is also required to extend the life of our current assets and future-proof them for climate change.

"Our recent State of the Nation report found that the Scottish Government has done many things well, but that investment in infrastructure has to be clearly defined and sustained to maximise economic, social and environmental benefits. Recent events demonstrate the need for planned and preventative maintenance to be a key part of all successful, resilient infrastructure networks."

ICE Scotland welcomed Finance Minister John Swinney's announcements about increased house building, digital connectivity and improved active travel investment along with new projects such as Dalry bypass and improvements to Haudagin roundabout, trunkroads maintenance, and flooding recovery funding.

However, the Government need to ensure that local authorities are sufficiently resourced - in terms of skills availability and finance - and supported in delivering vital infrastructure and maintenance in a period of continued budgetary pressure and future cuts.

The State of the Nation Scotland: Infrastructure 2015, focused on the performance, resilience, capacity and condition of Scotland's infrastructure networks. It also analyses the economic, social and environmental benefits of infrastructure.

From analysis of Energy, Transport, Flooding, Waste and Waste Water, and Waste Management, only the latter category showed any improvement since 2011. It identified the need for innovative new ways to deliver and operate infrastructure to allow Scotland to compete in the global economy.

The Institution will launch their Infrastructure Manifesto for Scotland in February 2016.