The Scottish Futures Trust (SFT), the Scottish government’s independent centre of infrastructure expertise, has published its latest five-year corporate plan outlining how it will prioritise its work towards a vision of world-class infrastructure for the people of Scotland.
Recognising that high-quality infrastructure underpins inclusive economic growth, sustainable communities and the effective provision of public services, the government has set a national infrastructure mission to increase infrastructure investment by up to £1.5bn per annum over its £5.2bn 2019-20 baseline, so that it reaches £6.7bn in 2025-26.
SFT has a unique role across the whole of Scotland, working with the public and private sectors, to:
- Plan asset investment and management effectively across sectors and places
- Innovate in approaches to funding, financing and delivery
- Deliver projects and programmes to drive life-cycle value and vibrant construction and related industries
- Manage existing assets, estates and contracts productively
The SFT’s corporate plan sets out the outcomes it will work with partners to deliver, with a particular focus on enabling development in places where jobs can be created and homes built - bringing public and private sector partners together with a focus on infrastructure and innovative financing to unlock the potential of places and assets.
The plan is also looking to deliver investment programmes in public infrastructure effectively, especially programmes which span multiple organisations such as schools’ investment and elements of the national infrastructure mission which need new financing approaches to be delivered.
In supporting the national infrastructure mission to enable the low-carbon, digitally enabled economy of tomorrow, SFT sees an increased focus on:
- Low-carbon infrastructure where we are working to deliver better insulated buildings, de-carbonise heat and provide options to increase electric vehicle charging points.
- Digital infrastructure, working on 5G technologies as well as rolling out masts to further increase 4G coverage in mobile ‘not-spots’.
- Infrastructure technology with 3D computer modelling, virtual reality and laser scanning all amongst the new infrastructure technologies SFT is promoting to virtually build a new school or hospital to help flush out any design flaws before moving the building into the construction phase.
- Maintenance and resilience where a renewed focus on making the best use of the assets through effective and joined-up use of buildings and focussed investment in condition can benefit users, the environment and free up budget over the medium term to invest in transformation.
Much of SFT’s infrastructure work is delivered in partnership with the Scottish construction industry. Recognising its importance to the economy, SFT will seek to ensure a vibrant construction industry with increased productivity delivering well-designed and high-quality assets to its customers and fair and rewarding work to a diverse workforce.
Peter Reekie, chief executive of the Scottish Futures Trust, explained: “Delivering high-quality, well-functioning infrastructure to support and accelerate economic growth will achieve social and environmental benefits right across Scotland. Building the economy is our focus, and we will continue to provide innovative investment models to stimulate additional private sector investment and create jobs.
“In addition, the economic impact of Scotland becoming a world-leading digital nation is huge as it could boost GDP by around 10%. But to reap that reward, all of Scotland must be at the forefront of technology. We are delivering the 4G mobile mast infill programme to cover many rural mobile not-spots and working on Scotland's 5G strategy which will be piloted at Dundee’s waterfront area.”