Work in progress: Scottish Government publishes updates on their Infrastructure Investment Plan 

Scotland

The Scottish Government has published three updates on its Infrastructure Investment Plan (IIP). The IIP was published in February 2021, discussed in our previous article, and confirmed a five-year plan for £33bn of capital investment into infrastructure in Scotland. The Scottish Government has published three updates on the IIP as part of their capital spending review:

  1. Major capital projects progress update

  2. Programme pipeline update

  3. Progress report

Major capital projects progress update:

This provides an update on projects with a capital value of £5 million or more which are at the Outline Business Case approved stage or beyond. These include the East Kilbride Rail Enhancement, a National Treatment Centre for NHS Ayrshire and Arran and Clydebank Health & Care Centre for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. These projects are all at varying stages, with the East Kilbride Rail Enhancement estimated to be operational in December 2024, the National Treatment Centre planning to be operational in summer 2024 and Clydebank Health & Care Centre having become operational in December 2021.

Programme pipeline update:

Infrastructure projects with an investment of £20 million or more which are scheduled but not complete include the A9 Dual carriageway, (for which a £115 million construction contract is expected to be awarded in the second half of 2022, procurement having started in August 2021) and the Glasgow Subway Modernisation process. This is a £246 million investment by the Scottish Government into the modernisation of the Glasgow Subway, including refurbished stations and a smartcard ticketing system.  In the energy sector, the Energy Transition Fund investment package of £75 million aims to support Scotland’s net zero aims for the next five years.

Progress report:

This documents progress against the IIP one year on from its launch, detailing projects which have already been delivered worth £232.2 million. These include the A9 Dualling from Luncarty to Pass of Birnam and the opening of two new community hospitals in Aviemore and Skye. The Scottish Network becoming the largest Electric Vehicle Charging Network in the world is named as a key highlight. Activity planned for the coming year is also described, with infrastructure projects worth almost a total of £1.8 billion currently in construction or estimated to commence construction in 2022-23.

Commentary:

These updates illustrate the Scottish Government’s ongoing commitment to infrastructure investment, underpinned by the three main themes of the IIP, namely: (1) enabling net zero emissions and environmental sustainability; (2) driving inclusive economic growth; and (3) building resilient and sustainable places. It is particularly clear that achievement of net zero is a priority with projects across all sectors having clear regard for decarbonisation and with a view to making it easier to make green choices. 

All three of the updates acknowledge that several projects have been delayed due to the continued challenges posed by COVID-19, including labour shortages and the availability of construction materials. In addition to the costs posed by these factors, there is the added challenge of cost inflation caused in part by the conflict in Ukraine. There is a general disclaimer that planned dates and costs continue to be subject to these challenges.

Despite these ongoing challenges, there continues to be exciting progress in the realm of Scottish infrastructure.

Links to each of the updates:

Infrastructure Investment Plan 2021-22 to 2025-26: major capital projects progress update - March 2022

Infrastructure Investment Plan 2021-22 to 2025-26: programme pipeline update - March 2022

Infrastructure Investment Plan 2021-22 to 2025-26: Progress Report for 2021-2022

Article co-authored by Rosie Walsh-Kirk.