Councillor Andrew Burns celebrates a hugely successful term as Chair of the Alliance
Bowing out – Councillor Andrew Burns
By the time you read this I will have finished my tenure as Chair of the Scottish Cities Alliance, as I stood down as both a Local Councillor and as Leader of Edinburgh City Council on Thursday 4th May.
It has been a great privilege to oversee such a busy period in the Alliance’s evolution, as it gathers pace and momentum in the work it is doing. Indeed there have been many positive achievements during my time as Chair which I am proud to have been a part of.
The launch of the Smart Cities Scotland brand in October 2015, saw the Alliance lead the Smart agenda in Scotland’s cities. We are still one of the only countries in the world to take the Smart Cities route in this way, with each of the cities learning from each other, sharing knowledge and bringing costs down through economies of scale, which is a huge undertaking but one that is reaping rewards and interest from across the world, including the Silicon Valley. The cities received £10million in European funding to take the Smart agenda forward which was matched by £14m from the cities making the project a huge and exciting undertaking to transform our cities using technology to make them smarter, cleaner, greener and more efficient.
Speaking of millions, the Alliance has helped bring in more than £150million to the Scottish economy via its marketing efforts of the Alliance Pitch Book which features £7.5billion of investment propositions across the seven cities. By bringing the seven cities’ propositions together, the cities have the large scale that investors look for – a collective achievement I am specifically proud of.
And as a collective we show the joined-up, collaborative mindset that the private sector looks for and something which has earned high praise indeed. And as well as the above, the Alliance is also leading the charge on hydrogen buses and its associated refuelling infrastructure, the low carbon agenda and the housing agenda via our work with the European Housing partnership.
The Alliance is also conducting an interesting piece of work into transforming twinning links into economic links, to boost trade and industry.
Bringing the seven cities together to work on several levels from council officers all the way through to the council leaders and chief executives, joining up with the Cabinet Secretary, is a huge undertaking both in will and in organisation, all to help Scotland’s cities propel themselves onto the global consciousness.
In more than two years as Chair, it has been a privilege to work with the seven cities and the Scottish Government to take forward this body of work.
I look forward to watching the Alliance’s progress to come, and wish my successor all the best as the Alliance continues to move from strength to strength.