The Scottish Cities Alliance, the unique collaboration of Scotland’s seven cities and the Scottish Government working together to promote the country’s great economic potential, is celebrating another hugely successful year with more than £100million invested into the seven cities through its exciting programme of work to date.
With a Pitch Book showcasing £7.5billion of investment opportunities, the Alliance aims to help cities attract investment with innovative Smart Cities, low carbon and hydrogen workstreams. The Alliance is working collaboratively to promote a wide range of development opportunities around the world, such as Aberdeen’s £1bn capital programme, Dundee’s £1bn Waterfront project, Edinburgh’s BioQuarter, Glasgow’s Clyde Waterfront, Inverness Campus, Perth’s booming food and drink industry and Stirling’s rapidly emerging digital-tech sector.
Last year saw the first investment successes from the Alliance’s Pitch Book – the £30million Mill Quarter project in the centre of Perth – with further Dundee Waterfront investments taking this total to £80million, with several more in the pipeline.
As EY’s latest Attractiveness Survey shows, Scotland is punching above its weight when it comes to Foreign Direct Investment, with Scotland hitting its best performance in a decade for attracting US investment, something the Alliance is clearly helping to boost.
Earlier this month, the Alliance announced the Smart Cities programmes that will be adopted across the seven cities which will use of data and digital technologies to make services – from street lighting to waste collection to healthcare provision – more efficient, and more environmentally friendly. With £10million of ERDF funding, matched by £14m from the cities, this is one of the only programmes in the world to encompass all cities in a country-wide Smart Cities programme.
Councillor Andrew Burns, chair of the Scottish Cities Alliance, said: “Collaboration is at the heart of everything the Alliance does and we are committed to building on the successes that it has achieved to date. 2017 looks set to be an even greater year for the Alliance partners.
“By working together, the cities are creating economies of scale and are driving innovation through shared learning from across the Alliance Operational programme and the cities’ City Deal activity, transforming services and making the work we do more economically viable. We believe that by attracting investment to Scotland’s cities, using Smart Cities, Hydrogen and Low carbon programmes, we will make the cities some of the most desirable and sustainable places to live and work in the world.
“Working together, we’ve brought more than £100million into the Scottish economy, with the promise of much more to come as the hard work behind the scenes of the many strands of the Alliance comes to fruition. I look forward to being part of that continued economic success as the eight partners continue to work closely together.”
Two of the Scottish Cities Alliance partners – Aberdeen and Dundee City Councils – are also participating in a pan-European project to deploy large scale hydrogen refuelling station infrastructure and hydrogen fuel cell buses across the cities and their regions. This will allow Scotland to position itself as one of Europe’s leading early adopters of hydrogen technology and attract investment into sectors such as manufacturing, engineering, low carbon technologies and bring about the commercialisation of hydrogen technologies over the coming years. As well as the economic benefits, zero emission hydrogen fuel buses also contribute to the achievement of Scotland’s challenging climate change targets, as well as improving local air quality in our cities.
Further projects of scale within this sector are currently being scoped to ensure that Scotland continues to be at the forefront of this dynamic technology.
The Alliance is also working in the low carbon sphere looking at large scale energy efficiency retrofit and low carbon heat – which will contribute to the Scottish Government’s ambitious climate change targets and improve the quality of life for citizens.
Economy Secretary Keith Brown said: “This has proven to be a landmark year for the Scottish Cities Alliance, with more than £100 million invested into our cities through the programme of work to date, to make our cities smarter, greener and more productive.
“We look set to build on this success in 2017, securing more investment from the £7.5 billion of opportunities that the Alliance is promoting and entering the delivery phase of the £24 million Smart Cities programme, taking our cities closer to becoming internationally competitive digital hubs.”