There was important recognition for Scotland’s natural assets recently, in the first ever Infrastructure Commission for Scotland (ICS) report published in January 2020. Produced for the Scottish Government after a consultation with over 1,000 key stakeholders, organisations and the general public, the report recognised that Scotland’s natural assets should be incorporated into their definition of ‘infrastructure’ for the first time, – alongside social and economic infrastructure.

The ICS was established by Scottish Government in 2019 to create a comprehensive 30-year infrastructure strategy to meet the country’s future economic growth and societal needs. Scottish Ministers have committed to steadily increase annual investment in infrastructure, so that it is £1.56 billion more in 2025-26 than in 2019-20. This will mean more than £25 billion in infrastructure investment through the next Parliament.

The new report has highlighted 23 key recommendations overall, grouped into 8 core themes to help determine the future of infrastructure development within Scotland. A second report is anticipated in June 2020, which will look in more detail at the practical approaches necessary to allow future infrastructure to be delivered.

Achieving net zero carbon and inclusive economic growth are two fundamental policy areas for the Scottish Government, which will have a significant bearing on future infrastructure decisions. That natural assets are now part of this conversation is highly encouraging, but the argument should continue to be made that protecting and enhancing Scotland’s natural assets have socio-economic benefits, not merely environmental ones.

Read the Key Findings Report

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