ICE Scotland, along with other leading experts on the built environment, has called for a more strategic approach to policy integration.
The next Scottish Government must better co-ordinate legislation, strategies and funding so its vision of a sustainable, resilient and inclusive future can be achieved – according to six organisations whose members plan, design, build and manage Scotland’s cities, towns, buildings, and infrastructure.
ICE Scotland, the Royal Town Planning Institute Scotland, Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in Scotland, Built Environment Forum Scotland
and Landscape Institute Scotland issued a joint statement ahead of a meeting of the Scottish Parliament’s Cross Party Group on Architecture and the Built Environment, the last before May’s Scottish elections.
The coalition – which represents a combined membership of around 22,500 people - has said there must be a shift from overlapping and disjointed strategies to policy making that is complementary and synergised, and from an opportunistic, reactive approach to development to a planned, proactive approach.
Priorities need to be identified
ICE Scotland Director Hannah Smith said that the first step must be to establish if the country’s infrastructure was fit for purpose.
“There must now be a strategic ‘resiliency audit’ to identify priorities and the most meaningful interventions to ensure our infrastructure is as durable as possible, particularly to withstand the
effects of extreme weather.”
Convenor of the Royal Town Planning Institute Scotland, Barbara Cummins said Covid-19 had allowed people to appreciate where they lived and that had to be capitalised on.
“A more co-ordinated approach across government will allow us to create 20-minute neighbourhoods that provide well-designed, attractive, healthy and sustainable communities
where people have local access to the services, shops and facilities they need on a daily basis.”
This view was echoed by Rachel Tennant, Chair of Landscape Institute Scotland, who said: “Diverse, well-designed and managed places can deliver climate change adaption, increase the resilience of our communities and businesses, improve our health and wellbeing, as well as protect and enhance nature. Collaborative and empowering approaches are essential to the delivery of this.”
The importance of collaboration
The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland President, Christina Gaiger, said working together was the best way to protect the environment.
“By adopting quality focused, and collaborative approaches that avoid impacts, we can create a built environment that lowers or eradicates energy demand. The Climate Crisis and the experience of the pandemic illustrate that change is needed but also that it can happen.”
Euan Leitch, Director of Built Environment Forum Scotland (BEFS), agreed it was imperative collaboration continued. “Working on a maintenance agenda, BEFS want to see policy and the professions working in unison to improve our places to meet climate, community, cultural, and economic need," he said.