Hot on the heels of their State of the Nation Infrastructure Report launched in November comes ICE’s own Manifesto for Infrastructure laying out a vision of what needs to be done to ensure Scotland has transport, energy, waste, water and flooding networks fit for the future.
Having highlighted sectors which require attention in November, ICE’s manifesto asks for commitment to the future under three broad categories – resilience, delivery and skills – and policy-makers of all political persuasions are asked to commit to:
- Enhance the resilience of all networks to climate and demographic change, preparing systems to meet future needs and challenges
- Achieving a long-term, cross-party vision for infrastructure, underpinned by sustainable investment, and delivering maximum value for public money
- Upskill Scotland’s workforce and grow a talent pool of engineers to meet our future infrastructure needs.
The eight-page document lays out why these commitments are needed, gives an analysis of Scotland’s future infrastructure needs, and sets out a ten-point plan of how these commitments can be achieved.
Director of ICE Scotland, Sara Thiam, says: “How we travel and bring water and heat to our homes and businesses is the result of historic investment decisions, but we have an aging infrastructure and need to look to the future.
“High quality infrastructure is the foundation of civilised living, and allows us to thrive in a competitive world. It drives change and regeneration, and supports our schools, hospitals and homes. It underpins sustainable economic growth, positive social outcomes, and our ability to compete internationally.
“ICE Scotland’s manifesto highlights the issues which will shape the future delivery of infrastructure in Scotland, and offers practical ways forward, and we ask policy-makers to commit to the aims and join the discussion of how we deliver the future infrastructure which Scotland requires.”
The events of recent months including widespread flooding in the North East and Borders and closures of the Forth Road Bridge and M8 motorway have underlined the importance of maintenance investment. The severe weather conditions have created storm-damage and disruption and tested our resilience plans.
ICE Scotland’s manifesto provides overarching and specific policy interventions required to support Scotland’s infrastructure ambitions and acknowledges that whatever the result in May, it is vital infrastructure continues to be at the heart of Scotland’s economic plans.
It states publicly-funded infrastructure investment has helped connect Scotland’s cities, upgrade aging railway infrastructure, decarbonise energy generation and transmission, improve drinking water quality and driven consistent economic growth since mid-2012. But we need to be confident that the right skills and expertise are in place to tackle the challenges presented by a growing and aging population, growing cities, and an increase in extreme weather events.
These issues are already increasing pressure on our infrastructure networks, changing how people use them and putting a strain on the resources available to fund them. Failure to commit to future infrastructure investment will increase such pressures still further.
For these reasons they have laid down the challenge, ahead of the election, to policy-makers and manifesto-writers to commit to infrastructure. ICE Scotland invites support for these commitments via Twitter by using the hashtag #commit2infra to @ICEScotland
Read ICE Scotland's Manifesto for Infrastructure now