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Scottish ministers urged to set up independent infrastructure body

Words: Roger Milne
Scotland / iStock-146908761

Scotland needs an independent specialist body with a remit to prioritise the infrastructure needed for an inclusive, net-zero carbon economy as part of a 30-year strategy.

That is the central conclusion of the Infrastructure Commission for Scotland (ICS) in its newly published final report to Scottish ministers.

The report stresses that the proposed body should sit outside the political decision-making system “to enable it to operate in an arm’s-length and transparent way”.

This would be critical to building confidence across the public and private sectors as well as for society and the general public. It would also “allow the body to challenge government while also undertaking tactical public engagement to inform the long-term strategy”.

The proposed independent organisation should be set up by early next year, ministers have been told.

Other key recommendations include a call that the government should enshrine the use by all stakeholders of the ‘place principle’ that had proved “an effective model when designing places within planning practice”. 

This would support the creation of sustainable places and help enable a “one public sector approach” to infrastructure.

Commission chair Ian Russell said: “Infrastructure has a vital role to play in the delivery of an inclusive, net zero-carbon economy and Covid-19 has amplified the need for urgent action and change for economic, social and natural infrastructure.”

The report can be found here on the Infrastructure Commission for Scotland website.

Image credit | iStock