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Resilience plea for Scottish infrastructure

Forth Road Bridge

Two key figures have called for a focus on infrastructure resilience in Scotland.

Institution of Civil Engineers president Sir John Armitt said maintenance of key assets was inadequate north of the border.

And Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) chief executive Ross Martin said more agility was needed in the country’s transport system.

They were speaking at the SCDI Forum in St Andrews this week after a rocky winter that saw 80 days of restrictions on the Forth Road Bridge near Edinburgh after defective steelwork was found, and a key section of the West Coast Main Line connecting Scotland with England flooded by Storm Desmond.

Armitt said: “Maintenance of existing infrastructure is under-prioritised and the recent closures of the Forth Road Bridge and West Coast Main Line, and the flooding in Aberdeenshire, showed us how significant the impact can be when key infrastructure assets are compromised.”

Martin added: “In addition to lacking some basic elements of economic infrastructure, such as obvious gaps or deficiencies in the transport network which need upgrading, we must also build in greater resilience to ensure that if one part of the system goes down then we are agile enough to work around that fracture.

“For example, when the Forth Road Bridge closed, although we quickly managed to put in place travel alternatives, the low rate of modal shift clearly demonstrated a lack of public confidence in the adaptability of the system. The resilience of our wider economic infrastructure relies upon so much more than physical alternatives, it needs to carry public confidence regarding agile alternatives.”

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