Scotland must prioritise maintaining and improving its infrastructure in order to come out of recession, civil engineers have warned.
The ICE Scotland said funds must be released for maintenance after a deterioration in the country’s road network.
The recommendations came in an interim State of the Nation report by the ICE, which is being sent to candidates from all the major parties in the Scottish elections, as well as interested professional bodies. The full report will be published in the summer.
The ICE stressed that managing and maintaining the current infrastructure in Scotland is equally as important as investing in new facilities.
ICE Scotland chairman Ken Laing said: “There are a number of positives to be taken from the report but we need to stay on top of maintaining our existing infrastructure efficiently just as much as investing in the future.
“Scotland’s future depends on the quality of its infrastructure. Without it, nothing works and now is the time to get it right. Nations which neglect their underpinning infrastructure do so at their peril.”
The report looks at energy, transport, water, waste, flood risk management and education and skills, outlining challenges in each area.
It calls on government to continue its strong support for hydro, wind and marine renewables but said it must also support new-build and retrofit clean coal and gas technologies.
The report also calls for the introduction of a transparent flood risk management decision-making framework.
It concludes: “It is now universally accepted that to compete in an increasingly complex world marketplace demands good infrastructure.
“To achieve economic growth to take us out of recession will need our best efforts. This will require growth in new technologies and markets which need to be supported by the foundation of good infrastructure.”
The ICE represents 85,000 civil engineers worldwide, of whom 8,300 are in Scotland