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Infrastructure Investment Plan maintains historic bias towards high-carbon transport

Published 20 November 2020 by Transform Scotland

Transform Scotland has published its response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the ‘Draft Infrastructure Investment Plan 2021-22 to 2025-26’.

Transform Scotland’s Policy Officer Marie Ferdelman said:

“Given the context of the Climate Emergency and the continued high climate impact of the Scottish transport sector we would have expected the Draft Infrastructure Investment Plan to address the historic bias towards spending on high carbon transport projects and prioritise low carbon transport projects. Unfortunately this is not the case. 

“While the Draft IIP does set out a new sustainable investment hierarchy, the investment hierarchy is not reflected in the projects that are prioritised in the infrastructure investment plan. The draft IIP continues to implicitly support the Scottish Government’s multi-billion pound road building programme.

“We urge the Scottish Government to reassess the projects included in the Draft IIP in line with the Infrastructure Commission’s recommendation to reprioritise the IIP against inclusive net zero carbon economy outcomes. A failure to do so will further lock Scotland into a high-emission transport system and render the new investment hierarchy and ambitions for sustainable investment that are expressed in the Draft IIP worthless.”

In our response we highlight the following key points:

  1. The investment programme must be brought in line with the new investment hierarchy: The Draft IIP includes a new investment hierarchy that prioritises assessing infrastructure projects in light of climate change forecasts. However, these priorities are not reflected in the transport infrastructure projects, where a strong emphasis on road building remains, while there is no new or additional money for sustainable transport projects. To meet the Draft IIPs own ambitions there must be a reassessment of the projects contained in the plan and spending must be shifted towards active travel and public transport projects.
  2. Investment priorities and indicators must reflect the Scottish Government’s climate commitments: We are generally supportive of the investment priorities and indicators for the assessment of projects that are outlined in the plan. However, these should be strengthened by directly reflecting the Scottish Government’s climate commitments. Additionally, the dashboard of indicators outlined in the plan, describes an extraordinarily vague set of indicators. These should be further specified to allow a meaningful assessment and comparison of infrastructure projects.
  3. The Strategic Environmental Assessment must reflect the true impact of the Draft IIP: The Strategic Environmental Assessment exclusively focuses on the impact of the key themes and investment hierarchy and fails to consider the projects that are listed in the plan. The conclusion that the Draft IIP will have an overall positive impact is therefore misleading. A comprehensive environmental assessment of the plan should include and assessment of the environmental impact of the projects contained within the Plan.