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Action Group members feed back on their work over 2019

The transition to a green financial system means fundamental changes to the way decisions are made across the economy. Delivering the systemic changes to deliver a clean, resilient and environmentally sustainable net zero future will require significant mobilisation and re-channelling of investment and partnership working to take projects to scale. Public finance will play a key role. However, public finance will not be enough[1].

A lack of expertise in the areas of financing and a lack of understanding of the various private financing options that exist is common across the public sector. There is a predominant dependence on soft financing options. This is partly due to ease and streamlined application process, pooling of borrowing, low interest rates, known, familiar and manageable reporting and monitoring requirements. However, this potentially limits the scale and nature of projects that can be delivered and will result in projects competing for funding with other internal projects.

Since the beginning of 2019, the Group met five times to discuss these challenges, to share experience and identify solutions. There is a clearly identified need for greater internal and external technical, legal, commercial and managerial know-how and support to assist in project implementation and delivery. Establishing a more advanced confident and innovative finance and investment culture can help to deliver a pipeline of well-structured, managed projects with senior buy in.

The Group benefitted from external input, with thanks for their valuable expertise: John Watt, Annequin Associates; Stephen Vere, Scottish Futures Trust; Jo Pike, Scottish Wildlife Trust and Alan McCulloch, SEPA.

Tools & Resources

The Action Group developed the following tools for SSN members, to help accelerate learning and understanding. We will aim to keep these resources up to date:

Future Plans

The Group agreed that it would be useful to convene a meeting of Finance Officers, as an opportunity to help identify key challenges, priorities and consider any solutions. Arrangements are currently underway for a meeting in early 2020. The Group also agreed to reconvene again after 12 months, to assess again key issues and share any updates.

With thanks to all the Group participants

Lesley Hinshelwood (South Lanarkshire Council - Action Group Co-Lead), Martin Kirkwood (Scottish Funding Council, on secondment to Fife College - Action Group Co-Lead), Shona M. Cargill, (Fife Resource Solutions - Fife Council), Kate Dapré (NHS Scotland), Sylvia Gray (East Dunbartonshire Council), Deanne Holden (Scottish Funding Council), Anne Jackson (Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park), Eric McRory (SEPA), Clive Mitchell (SNH), Veronica Noone (Scottish Enterprise), Rebecca Petford (EAUC).

[1] Committee on Climate Change, May 2019 – Report: Net Zero, the UK’s contribution to stopping global warming. OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) 2018 – Report: Developing robust project pipelines for low carbon infrastructure