Reflective of SCDI's unique membership, Forum brings together senior representatives drawn from the public, private and social economy sectors, providing a platform for dialogue, discussion and debate on the levers required to strengthen and grow Scotland's economy in an emerging environment.

Thursday 17 & Friday 18 March 2016
Venue: Fairmont St.Andrews                                               #scdiforum

As world events continue to drive ever increasing change in the economic system, our interactive journey at SCDI Forum 2016 to 'The Emerging Economy' - explored the developing key characteristics that will shape the ways in which we do business here at home and how we transact trade internationally.


Profound technological, economic and geopolitical disruptions are changing the world around us at an accelerating pace, raising questions for all businesses and for how we do business. An emerging economy, in all its diversity, is approaching into view...

More entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial, economically and socially agile and adaptable by necessity. Highly competitive, but increasingly collaborative, requiring a more active regulatory relationship. Personalised, but more sharing in consumption. Has Scotland got the focus, appetite for risk and ambition to be at the forefront of these economic changes? Do our leaders, managers and workforces have the skills, opportunities and mindset to become early adopters?

We considered the potential opportunities as we move through developing infrastructure towards a low carbon future and to an increasingly digital economy supporting innovation. The next opportunity to consider the context for our economy and how it interacts internationally will of course be the forthcoming EU Referendum, with the challenges and opportunities which that debate will bring. 


We took the findings of our Blueprint research around the three key economic challenges of the need for increased Innovation, Productivity and Internationalisation, underpinned by Infrastructure, into Forum 2016.

Addressing Forum 2016 were senior politicians from both the Scottish Government and UK Government - with keynote addresses from The Rt Hon Nicola Sturgeon MSP, First Minister of Scotland and The Rt Hon David Mundell MP, Secretary of State for Scotland.

Creating a Common Economic Platform: A key feature of our annual Forum is political engagement with government and this year we are delighted that - in a first for Scotland - both the First Minister and The Secretary of State for Scotland jointly appeared on our common economic platform at the Forum Dinner on the evening of Thursday 17 March in St.Andrews. The First Minister and Secretary of State for Scotland each addressed the issues raised by our recently published Blueprint report 'From Fragile To Agile: A Blueprint For Growth & Prosperity', with specific focus on the Productivity Puzzle and how innovation, internationalisation and modern, low carbon infrastructure can support solutions. In a wide-ranging and engaging Q&A session with delegates, hosted by SCDI President Lady Susan Rice CBE, they both noted that the Scottish and UK Governments can and do work constructively together in relation to specific aspects - such as rail connectivity and digital infrastructure - in order to ensure that Scotland is performing as well as possible economically. The business community was invited to work collaboratively as partners with both governments in meeting the economic challenges, including a need for more focus on companies internationalising.

SCDI Forum16 Dinner 170316 - FM SoS Lady Rice on stage web crop

Ross Martin, Chief Executive, SCDI said: "The Budget was centred around a strong signal of the transformational impact that low carbon infrastructure can have on driving economic growth across Scotland. The SCDI Forum brings together the country's decision makers on a common economic platform, including for the very first time, both the First Minister and Secretary of State to discuss how we deliver that infrastructure, and therefore enable an attack on poor productivity, low levels of innovation and a worryingly low level of internationalistion, particularly through the use of digital technology." 

With the EU Referendum in mind we are also delighted to have had the closing Forum keynote address on 18 March delivered by David McAllister MEP. As a politician representing Germany's CDU Party, Mr McAllister has Scottish heritage, and has recently voiced his desire for the UK to remain within the EU.

With addresses from senior business representatives representing the rich mix and broad balance of the economy - including amonst others:
Jim McColl OBE, Founder, Chairman & CEO, Clyde Blowers Capital; Prof.Sir Jim McDonald, Principal & Vice-Chancellor, University of Strathclyde; Sir John Armitt CBE, Commissioner, National Infrastructure Commission & President of the Institution of Civil Engineers; Prof.Winy Maas, Co-Founding Director, MVRDV Architects, The Netherlands; environmental entrepreneur Kresse Wesling MBE, Co-Founder of Elvis & Kresse; Bob Keiller, Chair, Scottish Enterprise; Carl Paraskevas - Senior Financial Economist, Commercial Banking, Lloyds Bank; Ronnie Quinn - General Manager - Scotland Portfolio, The Crown Estate; Chris Toop - General Manager - Energy, Scottish Water; Paul Chong, Director of Watson Group - EMEA, IBM; Prof.François Garçon, Senior Lecturer & Associate Professor, Université Paris-Sorbonne; and Lady Susan Rice CBE, President, SCDI 
- we're emerging from our collective conference discussions, learnings and interactions with a more concise view of Scotland and the wider UK's 'emerging economy' and our future international interactions. 

SCDI Forum 2016 energised the debate in driving economic growth for Scotland. 


 The Forum programme consisted of three main sessions
- an Executive Symposium, Forum Dinner & the Forum 2016 conference.

SCDI FORUM 2016 - Friday 18 March (08.00 - 15.00)
A full day conference featuring main-stage plenary sessions, interactive experiences, breakout groups and networking opportunities. The Forum is attended by circa 250 delegates.

Executive Symposium - Thursday 17 March (12.00 - 17.00)
The Executive Symposium - a pre-conference session aimed at high level debate and discussion on the main themes. It is attended by circa 70 senior stakeholders, partners and economic experts. There are a limited number of places available for delegates who wish to participate*.

FORUM DINNER - Thursday 17 March (18.30 - 22.30)
The Forum Dinner, attended by circa 200 guests, features a keynote address and provides an excellent opportunity for networking and informal dialogue with delegates.

The cost for participation was as follows:

Forum Delegate (includes Thursday 17 March Dinner, overnight stay & full day Friday 18 March Conference)
Fee included the cost of one night's accommodation at Fairmont St.Andrews, conference meals/receptions & materials.

  • SCDI Member: £500 plus VAT
  • Non-Member: £600 plus VAT

Day Delegate Only (Friday 18 March Conference only)
Fee included conference day attendance on Friday 18 March, conference breaks & materials.

  • SCDI Member: £295 plus VAT
  • Non-Member: £395 plus VAT

Executive Symposium (a stand-alone session, which involves an additional booking element outwith the main Forum Dinner and Friday Conference)
*For further information on the Executive Symposium session (limited places) please contact Claire Miller.

Full payment must be received in advance of Forum 2016. Please note that cancellations cannot be refunded after Mon.8 Feb 2016, but a substitute delegate was welcome to attend in the booked place.



SCDI would like to thank our Partners for their much appreciated support of Forum 2016:

Forum16 - Partners banner final idents









Partnership Opportunities
The SCDI Forum offers our Partner organisations a unique opportunity to build profile, benefit from the strategic positioning the conference delivers, engage with senior leaders and key stakeholders, and contribute to the discussion developing the context and framework to influence the strategic policy agenda. For further information, please contact Vince McKeown, Director, Membership & Partnership Services or Claire Miller, Events & Sponsorship Manager.

The SCDI Forum 2015 took place in March 2015 in Edinburgh - you can click here for a flavour of the content of that conference.


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* Please note that delegate email addresses and twitter handles will be reproduced in the conference delegate list. If you do not wish these to appear, please tick this box.

Delegate Type


Forum Delegate (includes Thursday 17 March Dinner, overnight stay and full day Friday 18 March Conference) - SCDI Member £500.00 plus VAT
Forum Delegate (includes Thursday 17 March Dinner, overnight stay & full day Friday 18 March Conference) - Non Member £600.00 plus VAT
Day Delegate Only (Friday 18 March Conference only) - SCDI Member £295.00 plus VAT
Day Delegate Only (Friday 18 March Conference only) - Non Member £395.00 plus VAT
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Speakers at SCDI Forum 2016 will include senior business & political representatives including:

In a first for Scotland, the First Minister and The Secretary of State for Scotland will jointly appear on our common economic platform at the Forum Dinner on the evening of Thursday 17 March,
where they will each address the issues raised by our recently published Blueprint 'From Fragile To Agile: A Blueprint For Growth & Prosperity', with specific focus on the Productivity Puzzle and
how innovation, internationalisation and modern, low carbon infrastructure can support solutions.

The 4 themed Breakout Sessions at Forum 2016 include insights from:



Thursday 17 March:

EXECUTIVE SYMPOSIUM (12.00 - 17.00) - (NB: The Symposium involves an additional booking element outwith the main Forum Dinner and Friday Conference)
A thought-provoking and energetic prelude to Forum 2016, the Executive Symposium is a pre-conference event aimed at high-level debate and discussion with circa 70 stakeholders, partners and economic experts.

The Symposium will feature sessions on 'The Future Structure & Shape of the Economy' - facilitated by Lady Susan Rice CBE - President, SCDI; including insights from Bob Keiller - Chair, Scottish Enterprise; and Carl Paraskevas - Senior Financial Economist, Commercial Banking, Lloyds Bank; 
and 'Future Energy Policies' - facilitated by Prof.Sir Jim McDonald - Principal & Vice-Chancellor, University of Strathclyde and co-chair, with the First Minister, of The Scottish Government's Energy Advisory Board; with insights from Ronnie Quinn - General Manager - Scotland Portfolio, The Crown Estate; & Chris Toop - General Manager - Energy, Scottish Water.

FORUM DINNER (18.30 - 22.30)
The Forum Dinner is attended by over 200 guests and provides an excellent opportunity for networking and informal dialogue with fellow delegates.

Welcome Reception & Networking

Welcome - Lady Susan Rice CBE - President, SCDI

Dinner Keynote Speakers:
The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, and The Rt Hon David Mundell MP, The Secretary of State for Scotland, will jointly appear on our common economic platform at the SCDI Forum 2016 Dinner.

The First Minister and Secretary of State for Scotland will each address the issues raised by our recently published Blueprint policy report 'From Fragile To Agile: A Blueprint For Growth & Prosperity' with specific focus on the Productivity Puzzle and how Innovation, Internationalisation and modern, low carbon Infrastructure can support solutions.

Dinner Service

Q&A Session - facilitated by Lady Susan Rice CBE - President, SCDI

Post-Dinner Networking Reception (from 22.30 - 23.30)

FORUM 2016

Friday 18 March:

Attended by over 200 delegates, the Friday SCDI Forum session provides the opportunity for delegates to debate and discuss the key issues of Scotland's emerging economy.

Facilitated by:  Graham Stewart - Journalist & Broadcaster

Networking Tea & Coffee for Delegates

Welcome - Brendan Dick - Chair, SCDI

The Fourth Industrial Revolution & Four Challenges for Scotland

As a 'Fourth Industrial Revolution' - shaped by the introduction and combination of emerging technologies - disrupts industries and accelerates the potential for economic, social and environmental change, both positive and negative, this session will discuss work under way and the future leadership and investment needed to improve Productivity, Innovation, Internationalisation and Infrastructure in the economy.

How will 'The Emerging Economy' challenge current business models of production and consumption? How can we develop agile responses to disruptive changes and what are our long-term needs and priorities to secure growth and prosperity? As we aim to transition to a more robust and resilient economy, what do we need to do to maximise the transformational opportunities for - and minimise the threats to - our financial, manufactured, human, social and natural capital? How can we inspire the focus, appetite for risk and ambition in Scotland, with the skills, opportunities and mindset in our leaders, workforces and places, to be at the global frontier? 

  • Jim McColl OBE - Founder, Chairman & CEO, Clyde Blowers Capital & Member, Council of Economic Advisers
  • Kresse Wesling MBE - Co-Founder, Elvis & Kresse
  • Sir John Armitt CBE - Commissioner for the National Infrastructure Commission, President of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) & former Chair of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA)

Q&A / Discussion Session

Networking Break

Taking the Blueprint from Policy to Practice - Breakout Sessions

The Forum 2016 breakout sessions will focus on each of the 4 core policy challenges of Productivity, Innovation, Internationalisation and Infrastructure - and will provide participants with an opportunity to discuss and help determine how we, collectively as an economy, move on to their practical implementation examining themes of:

Speakers: Mark Dames, Head of Policy & Public Affairs, BT Scotland / Bob Yuill, Deputy Chief Executive, Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS) / Polly Purvis, Chief Executive, ScotlandIS

Speakers: Dr George Hazel OBE, Chair, SCDI Connectivity Commission / Robbie Drummond, Group Finance Director, David MacBrayne / James Ledgerwood, Head of Economic Development, ScotRail

Co-Chairs: Andrew Thin, Chair, Scottish Canals,& Non-Exec Director of The Scottish Government's Infrastructure Investment Board / Philip Yelland, Executive Director for Regulation, The Law Society of Scotland. Speaker: Steve Dunlop, Chief Executive, Scottish Canals

Chair: Vic Emery, Chair, Zero Waste Scotland
Panel: Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland / Ewan Mearns, Senior Manager Strategy Services, Scottish Enterprise / Kennedy Miller, Technology & Sustainability Manager, Brand-Rex / Kresse Wesling MBE, Co-Founder, Elvis & Kresse / Eric Whale, Director, CelluComp

Networking Lunch

SCDI Policy Feedback - Summary feedback from the four pre-lunch Breakout Sessions.

Humanising the Digital Age - Shaping the Emerging Economy

As nearly every economy is disrupted by this 'Fourth Industrial Revolution' and seeks to position itself to take advantage of the opportunities and mitigate the threats, this session will discuss international perspectives on the key cross-cutting areas of place, technology and skills and how countries like Scotland can develop an optimal mix which underpins improvements in productivity, innovation and internationalisation.

What should be our strategy to guide the evolution of the Emerging Economy so that it works for us all? With the growing importance of place to economic, social and environmental prospects, how can we create more liveable, enlightened and dynamic cities, towns and rural areas? How can we utilise smart technologies to create a fully agile economy, redesigning and modernising our places and infrastructure, and delivering world-leading public service outcomes? How can we most intelligently invest over the long term to develop a high-skill and high-pay workforce to compete in the global knowledge economy and secure higher levels of social wellbeing?

  • Prof.Winy Maas - Co-Founding Director, MVRDV Architects (The Netherlands)
  • Paul Chong - Director of Watson Group - EMEA, IBM
  • Prof.François Garçon - Senior Lecturer & Assoc.Professor, Université Paris-Sorbonne

Q&A / Discussion Session

Cut Off Continent? - The Future of the UK & the EU

The European Union is facing unprecedented challenges, with the eurozone debt and the migration crises. The UK's vote on its membership will be a pivotal decision for Scotland's and the UK's economy and place in the modern world - and for the EU.

David McAllister MEP, Prime Minister of Lower Saxony from 2010-13, will discuss what is at stake for Scotland, the UK, the EU and the international community. He will propose how the EU can transition 'from fragile to agile' and provide an answer to the big challenges being faced across its member states, nations and regions, including improving competitiveness and getting people back to work and into the jobs of the future, and being faced worldwide, such as climate change, migration and security.

  • David McAllister MEP - Germany's CDU Party

Q&A / Discussion Session

Forum 2016 - Concluding Remarks 

  • Ross Martin - Chief Executive, SCDI

Forum Close


Event Partners

The SCDI Forum offers partner organisations a unique opportunity to build profile, engage and benefit from the strategic positioning the conference delivers.

It continues to enable partners to contribute to the development of policy and thought leadership on the future prosperity of the Scottish economy, and to work in partnership with Scotland's most respected business and civic economic development network. 


Strategic Partners


BT Scotland

BT Scotland is at the heart of innovative and exciting communications for all of Scotland. Our activities place Scotland's people at the forefront of worldwide communication. Our networks, products and services are changing the way we live - at home, at work, in health, education, government and the community. Our customers can communicate anywhere, any time, using whatever device they choose. More than a million people in Scotland use our broadband network, covering 99% of the population. Levels of choice and control at home, at work or out and about have never been greater, whether you're watching TV over broadband with BT Vision or checking your e-mail in the centre of Edinburgh or Glasgow using our Wireless Cities networks. We're a leader in corporate responsibility, using technology to benefit the environment and fighting digital exclusion through links with education, charities and businesses. We see information and communication technology as the key to unlocking our potential as a nation, improving prosperity and quality of life for all. BT in Scotland will continue to develop and deliver networks and services nationwide to shape a better, brighter future for generations to come.  







City Building (Glasgow) LLP

City Building is a highly successful and evolving business which has a proven track record of strategic delivery within the commercial marketplace. The company has been recognised as one of the top 90 businesses in Scotland for employment and diversity and with a turnover circa £200m, the business is in the top 100 construction companies in the UK. City Building's achievements over the years, particularly in the areas of sustainability and employment, culminated in the prestigious Queens Award for Enterprise: Sustainable Development. City Building employ more than 2,200 people and support an estimated additional 2,000 people through its supply chain. The company is currently training 400 apprentices across all construction trades making it the largest employer of apprentices in Scotland. City Building's award winning training academies are the most successful apprentice training centres in Scotland. The scale and flexibility of their multi-disciplinary workforce and broad experience allows them to deliver complex projects of all scope and size across a wide variety of built forms. As a successful commercial business City Building have won in excess of £1bn worth of contracts in open competition, with effective marketing playing a key role in the delivery of this success. 


The Crown Estate

The Crown Estate is an independent, progressive commercial business created by Act of Parliament. Our role is to make sure that the land and property we invest in and manage for the nation are sustainably worked, developed and enjoyed to deliver the best value over the long term. 100% of our annual revenue profit is paid to the UK Government. In Scotland we manage four rural estates, mineral and salmon fishing rights, about half of the coastal foreshore and almost all of the seabed. We have a significant role in supporting aquaculture, marine leisure, ports & harbours and offshore renewable energy. At the heart of how we work is an astute, considered and collaborative approach that helps us create success for our business and for those we work with. In everything we do, we are guided by our values - commercialism, integrity and stewardship.



IBM is a globally integrated enterprise operating in over 170 countries. Today, IBM UK has around 20,000 employees, bringing innovative solutions to a diverse client base to help solve some of their toughest business challenges. In addition to being the world's largest IT and consulting services company, IBM is a global business and technology leader, innovating in research and development to shape the future of society at large. IBM's prized research, development and technical talent around the world partner with governments, corporations, thinkers and doers on ground breaking real world problems to help make the world work better and build a smarter planet.


The Law Society of Scotland

The Law Society is the professional body for Scottish solicitors and aims to lead and support a successful and respected legal profession. The legal sector in Scotland now contributes over £1 billion to the Scottish economy each year. It is responsible for over 20,000 highly skilled jobs and the services provided by solicitors are critical to the smooth running of the economy, not least in the property market and helping people to set up their own businesses. The growing numbers of in-house solicitors also make a major contribution to the success of the companies and organisations that employ them. Many of the sectors upon which Scotland depends so heavily - energy, financial services, the life sciences, food and drink - all rely on high quality, expert legal services to thrive, whether they are provided in house or through private practice. Put simply, a successful Scotland needs a successful Scottish legal profession. Follow us on twitter @lawscot 




Scottish Water

Scottish Water provides vital water and waste water services, essential to daily life, to over 2.4 million households and 150,000 business premises across Scotland, and is trusted to care for the water on which Scotland depends. 





SEPA (Scottish Environment Protection Agency)

A clean and healthy environment is fundamental to Scotland's continued well-being and prosperity – SEPA's role is to help protect and maintain Scotland's vital environmental resources.


Skills Development Scotland


Skills Development Scotland (SDS) supports individuals and employers to get the skills they need to succeed and grow. Working closely with partners at a local and national level, we are:

  • transforming services to help people get jobs and manage their careers investing in training provision which meets the needs of individuals and industry aligning our support with employers’ growth ambitions. By driving efficiency and creating opportunity throughout the skills cycle, SDS contributes to the development of Scotland’s society and economy.

Zero Waste Scot Black HR Feb16

Zero Waste Scotland

Zero Waste Scotland is Scotland's resource efficiency and circular economy expert. 


Associate Partners

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Event Blog


A Constant State Of Innovation

Virginia M.(Ginni) Rometty, Chair, President & CEO, IBM

Monday 7 March 2016

SCDI-Forum14-IBM-150X150"Digital is the wires, but digital intelligence, or artificial intelligence as some people call it, is about much more than that. This next decade is about how you combine those and become a cognitive business. It's the dawn of a new era."



Shaping ‘An Emerging Economy’

Ronnie Quinn, General Manager - Scotland Portfolio, The Crown Estate

Wednesday 24 February 2016

TheCrownEstate-logoJan15In Scotland we manage a diverse portfolio which includes four rural estates, mineral and salmon fishing rights, about half of the coastal foreshore, the seabed to 12 nautical miles (nm), as well as the rights to minerals, offshore renewables and gas storage out to 200nm.

Our vision is to be a progressive commercial business creating significant value beyond financial return. At the heart of this approach is collaboration - we recognise that partnerships and people are key to our long-term commercial success.

Building relationships with our tenants, customers and stakeholders has enabled us to share our knowledge and expertise for mutual benefit. From supporting job creation in offshore renewables, to working with rural and coastal businesses to help Scotland's communities thrive – our team works collaboratively to ensure that assets are sustainably worked, developed and enjoyed to deliver the best value over the long term.

As an active asset manager, we play a key role in supporting sustainable growth in some of Scotland's key sectors, be they emerging or mature including, aquaculture, marine leisure, rural estates and offshore renewable energy. Our unique position as an enabler can facilitate innovation and development or help bring people together to share knowledge and best practise. Our team's expertise in managing assets commercially, delivers real benefits to local economies.

The Smith Commission recommended that the management of Crown Estate assets in Scotland be transferred to Scottish Parliament. We're working closely with the Scottish and UK governments to ensure a swift and smooth transfer of these responsibilities, with a clear commitment to protect the interests of our tenants, customers, staff and the communities we work with.

The theme for this year's SCDI Forum is 'An Emerging Economy'. Here at The Crown Estate we too are 'emerging' with the creation of the Scotland Portfolio which brings together all the Scottish assets and the people who manage them under a single business unit with separate accounting and a distinct business plan. The formation of the Scotland Portfolio, which comes into effect on 1 April 2016, is part of the planned step change as we move from being part of The Crown Estate to being devolved to Scottish Ministers.

We have ahead of us an interesting, busy and challenging future. While the world continues to change around us, we will continue to listen to our partners and work together with industry and Government for sustainable and shared success - helping to identify opportunities and shape 'An Emerging Economy' for Scotland. 

New Apprenticeships Pathway To Success In The Emerging Economy

Diane Greenlees, Head of Foundation & Graduate Level Apprenticeships, Skills Development Scotland

Tuesday 23 February 2016

SDS-new-ident-Jan15They way we deliver education and skills to young people is changing, to reflect the changing needs of Scottish economy and take account of different ways of developing our young workforce. 

Foundation Apprenticeships provide young people with the knowledge, skills and competence to broaden their options when they leave school. So whether they want to go straight into employment, go on to college or university or gain accelerated entry onto a related Modern Apprenticeship (MA), Foundation Apprenticeships can help. 

Over 300 pupils are currently enrolled on Foundation Apprenticeships in engineering and construction, healthcare and financial services, with the first intake expected to complete their apprenticeships in June 2016. And by August 2016 we expect more than 1,200 pupils will be engaged in a Foundation Apprenticeship. This year we are expanding Foundation Apprenticeships across more regions and industry sectors including software development and hardware and systems support, equipping young people with the skills to compete not just here in Scotland and the UK, but internationally too. 

As well as helping school pupils to get a head start in their career we are also working with industry and academia to develop Graduate Level Apprenticeships. Designed in partnership with industry and academia, Graduate Level Apprenticeships will support employers to develop their workforce to the required level of technical and professional competence up to Masters level. 

Participating employers design academic study to meet their industry needs. As well as delivering quicker and better returns in productivity Graduate Level Apprenticeships can also aid recruitment, retention and succession planning. 

The benefits to individuals are clear - not only will they achieve the same degree, they may be able to do this in less time because they are not bound by traditional university semesters. And because they are in continuing employment apprentices can directly apply their academic learning to real-life situations, all the while earning a good salary. This helps to widen access to university or college learning that was previously unattainable. 

International experience from Germany, Switzerland and New Zealand - countries with mature work-based learning strategies - demonstrates how degree level apprenticeships act as economic drivers and we estimate that a similar approach could be worth £5bn to the Scottish economy. By leveraging greater investment from industry we can target investment in further and higher education, leading to more effective use of tighter public sector resources. 

Taken together Foundation, Modern and Graduate Level Apprenticeships offer a work-based learning pathway with multiple entry and exit points. Greater collaboration between education and industry will equip individuals and employers with the skills and experience they need to emerge more strongly from the economic downturn.  

Investing In Infrastructure

Alan R. Thomson, Head of Corporate Relations, Scottish Water

Monday 15 February 2016

Scottish-Water-logo-webScottish Water provides vital water and waste water services to 2.46 million households and business premises.

Customers continue to receive drinking water through their taps which is of the highest ever quality, while benefitting from average household charges which, in 2016/17, will be £38 lower than the average in England and Wales.

We continue to invest significantly to improve water infrastructure and services across Scotland which supports thousands of vital jobs in the Scottish economy. We have achieved record environmental performance, helping to protect Scotland's coastal and river waters.

Work has also been taking place to accommodate growth in local communities to facilitate new developments.

90% of Scottish Water's spend is through Scottish based suppliers, with 79% of our supply chain being SME businesses.

We are now delivering our £3.5 billion 2015-21 investment programme and have developed a new delivery model which involves working in partnership with three new alliances to deliver maintenance and improvements to existing assets. We have also developed rural frameworks allowing us to work with smaller contractors at a local level.

Between now and 2021 we are planning to deliver even higher drinking water quality, together with improved customer service and enhanced environmental performance. We have a firm focus on ensuring our assets and networks are increasingly resilient and responsive to the needs of customers and the possible impacts of climate change. This includes a £120 million project to improve the resilience of Ayrshire's water by installing 30 miles of new mains.

We also continue to support the development of a low carbon economy including initiatives such as food waste recycling, the UK's first heat from sewage scheme and a growing renewables portfolio - helping to reduce costs and generating energy to help run our treatment works.