Scottish Government announces members of Infrastructure Commission

Written by Jenni Davidson on 11 February 2019 in News

The Infrastructure Commission for Scotland will advise the Scottish Government on its infrastructure strategy and investment

Plan and a hard hat - Image credit: PA Images

The Scottish Government has announced the members of the independent body that it has set up to advise it on its 30-year strategy for infrastructure investment.

The Infrastructure Commission for Scotland, chaired by former Scottish Power chief executive Ian Russell, will provide independent expert advice on what the priorities should be for both physical and digital infrastructure in Scotland.

The newly appointed commissioners come from backgrounds in various aspects of infrastructure and public policy.

Professor Iain Docherty is the Professor of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Glasgow and for 20 years he has researched the connections between strategic planning and transport policies, investment decision-making and economic performance.

Chartered surveyor Ken Gillespie is chair of building industry representative Homes for Scotland and of Construction Scotland, as well as being a non-executive director of the Home Group housing association.

Benny Higgins has a background in banking and Mary Pitcaithly was the chief executive of Falkirk Council for ten years and is a former chair of SOLACE Scotland, the representative body for local authority chief executives.

Rachel Skinner is UK Head of Transport at engineering services company WSP and vice president of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), Grahame Smith is general secretary of the STUC, while Sara Thiam is director of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) in Scotland.

On the digital side, John Trower is currently chair of internet services provider Optimity and from 2015 to 2018 he was a member of OFCOM’s national Advisory Committee for Scotland.

Professor Janette Webb is Professor of Sociology of Organisations at the University of Edinburgh and her research has focused on governance of low carbon infrastructure, with a particular focus on comparative European heat and energy efficiency policies and practices.

She was a member of the Scottish Government Fuel Poverty Review Panel and adviser on Energy Efficient Scotland proposals.

Commenting on the appointments, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure Michael Matheson said: “I am delighted the Infrastructure Commission is starting its work.

“Together the members bring a wide and balanced range of skills and insights.”

The Scottish Government announced the creation of an infrastructure commission to provide long-term strategic advice to the Scottish Government on national infrastructure priorities in October last year.

The aim is to ensure that any investment promotes both economic growth and low carbon targets and that investment decisions are based on evidence and good practice.

The commission will support the Scottish Government’s delivery of the National Infrastructure Mission and the development of the next Infrastructure Investment Plan for the five years ahead.

Matheson continued: “[The commission] has a key role in advising Scottish ministers on strategic investments to boost inclusive economic growth, improve services and support delivery of Scotland’s low carbon objectives.

 “We know the value of investing in infrastructure goes beyond the physical homes, schools and hospitals we see in everyday life.

“It also unlocks economic potential, supports jobs and allows our businesses and communities to strengthen and grow.

“And it plays a crucial role in connecting our people, businesses and communities.

“Under our new National Infrastructure Mission, Scottish ministers have committed to steadily increase annual investment so it is £1.56 billion more in 2025-26 than in 2019-20, meaning more than £25 billion in infrastructure investment through the next parliament.

“It is really important stakeholders and people across Scotland have their say about what is needed and how it might best be delivered.

“The open engagement the commission will undertake will ensure high quality advice and help us put in place the best infrastructure for Scotland’s needs.”

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