Bank joins partners in the nations to drive net zero and growth

Bank joins partners in the nations to drive net zero and growth

12 April 2023

UK Infrastructure Bank has worked with organisations in Scotland and Wales to advise on the development of key transport infrastructure projects.

These are the next tranche of initiatives being supported by the Bank’s Local Authority advisory service, which provides support to local authorities to help get infrastructure projects off the ground and ensure they are a success.

It follows three initial pilot projects undertaken by the advisory service in Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and Bristol.

Details of the new projects are:

  • Scotland – the Bank has supported Glasgow City Council in the development of financial and commercial plans for the Clyde Metro, a multi-billion-pound investment in a multi-mode network over a 30-year period. The project is intended to better connect more than 1.5 million people to employment, education, and health services in and around Glasgow and reduce carbon emissions through greener forms of transport. The project was recently confirmed by the Scottish Government as a key strategic priority for future transport investment and the Bank ran a series of workshops with regional stakeholders and representatives to explore funding and financing options.
  • Wales – the Bank is working with Transport for Wales and the Welsh Government on a project which is seeking to decarbonise the public service bus fleet by 2035.  This will entail the Bank running a series of workshops with Transport for Wales and the Welsh Government to explore the commercial and financial structuring options that will facilitate the transition of around 4,000 vehicles (2,000 public buses and 2,000 school transport vehicles) and the supporting infrastructure (depots, fleet maintenance and power) to zero emission technology. The project is a key part of the Welsh Government’s National Transport Delivery Plan (2022-2027), which aligns with the decarbonisation plan set out in, the Welsh Government’s net zero strategic plan.

The Bank is developing its expert advisory service to help local authorities and devolved administrations develop and finance infrastructure projects, building on its initial pilots with West Yorkshire Combined Authority (mass transit) and Transport for Greater Manchester (zero emission buses) to apply lessons and experience to the Glasgow and Wales projects.

John Flint, CEO of UK Infrastructure Bank, said:

"Local authorities and devolved administrations have a pivotal role to play in the journey to net zero and supporting regional and economic growth – the twin missions of the Bank.

"It is a privilege to work with these organisations so we can better understand how the Bank can help local authorities and devolved administrations build the capabilities and financial expertise they need to drive the transition to a net zero, climate resilient, thriving economy."

Cllr Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow City Region Cabinet said:

"Clyde Metro will be transformational across the west of Scotland, a catalyst for major economic growth and development, and social and educational opportunities while also making a huge contribution to our decarbonisation agenda.

"This collaboration with UKIB will help us further explore those critical funding and investment options for Clyde Metro, inform early engagement with potential partners and identify the financial structures necessary to support large-scale mass transit projects and the wider net zero transition agenda.

"In progressing the vital discussions around the resourcing of Clyde Metro we can then begin to talk to our citizens about routes and destinations, about timetables for delivery and about the transformational benefits it will have for them and their communities."

Ian Cater, Head of Transport Development, Transport for Wales, said:

"We’re pleased to be working with UKIB as we develop plans to deliver Welsh Government policy to decarbonise the bus fleet across Wales. The breadth of the factors that require consideration is broad in this emerging field and UKIB have been able to support us to develop a strategic delivery plan."

The local authority function is a core part of the Bank’s mandate, set by the UK Government. The advisory service will complement other sources of advice available by helping local authorities across the devolved nations to get the best value from working with the private sector.

Last month, legislation that puts the Bank on a statutory footing received Royal Assent, giving the Bank the power to lend directly to local authorities across the UK. With £4bn to deploy, the Bank can provide flexible loans to support regional infrastructure at a preferential rate.

The Bank’s lending team welcomes enquiries from local authorities seeking flexible finance for qualifying projects.