Scottish Cities Alliance celebrates a successful year and looks forward to a bumper 2018

January 9th 2018

The Scottish Cities Alliance is celebrating another successful year highlighting the huge benefits of collaborative working, with its Smart Cities and Hydrogen workstreams helping to boost Scotland’s environmental credentials around the world.

The partners reaffirmed their commitment to work together for the next four years with the seven city leaders and Cabinet Secretary, Keith Brown, signing up to continue the partnership to build on its successes, with Councillor John Alexander, Leader of Dundee City Council appointed the Alliance’s new Chair.

The Alliance is the unique collaboration of Scotland’s seven cities and the Scottish Government working together to promote the country’s great economic potential around the world. This mature partnership will help drive Scotland’s city economies through its strategic promotion of investment, underpinned by a commitment to make our cities efficient and sustainable, thereby ensuring that the cities meet the ever-increasing aspirations and requirements of international investors.

The Alliance aims to do this using Smart Cities technology. Our world-leading Smart Cities programme has seen more than £24million invested in the seven cities’ smart ambitions, with £10million of that total coming from European funding. This work will create a network of Smart Cities across Scotland which will use information, or data, gathered from technology, to improve its services, create new opportunities for business and enhance the quality of life experienced by citizens.

Last year the projects the cities plan to take forward were announced and these projects, which include intelligent street lighting, smart waste and open data platforms are now under way. The Alliance has further ambitious plans to build on this body of work in 2018, following interest in the projects from strategic locations around the world from the Silicon Valley to the City of London to South Korea.

Through its collaborative approach the Alliance has also made significant progress for Scotland in hydrogen technologies, by working with the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH-JU) for the commercialisation of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure and hydrogen fuel cell buses – Joint Initiative for Hydrogen Vehicles Across Europe (JIVE). These are the most ambitious projects to-date, deploying large scale refuelling infrastructure and fuel-cell bus deployment across Europe.

The bids into the FCH-JU were successful which means that Aberdeen under JIVE will deploy a further 10 hydrogen fuel cell buses in 2018 and Dundee will look to deploy 12 fuel cell buses in 2019 under JIVE 2.

Through this work, Scotland is positioning itself as one of Europe’s leading early adopters of hydrogen technology which will help to attract investment into sectors such as manufacturing, engineering and encourage 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 being scoped to ensure that Scotland continues to be at the forefront of this dynamic technology and supply chain development is a very important part of this scoping.

The Alliance has helped to bring in more than £125million to the Scottish economy to date through investments from its Pitch Book which showcases more than £10billion of opportunities across the seven cities. The latest EY Scotland Attractiveness Survey showed for the fifth year in a row that Scotland is second only to London as the most popular part of the UK to invest in, something the Alliance continues to support.

The Alliance will build on this successful track record and will continue to attract investment, stimulate economic activity and create business growth and by working with partner agencies such as Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Development International and the Department of International Trade, the Alliance is working to bring investment into our cities.

In May, working with Scottish Enterprise, the Alliance held the first major event at the Scottish Government’s new headquarters in London, Scotland House. The investment opportunities showcased at the event continue to receive ongoing international investor interest.

Chair of the Scottish Cities Alliance, Councillor John Alexander, said: “The Alliance is a very powerful approach that highlights to the rest of the world the great opportunities Scotland’s cities have to offer investors and businesses. By combining our strengths and working together the Alliance will create the robust investment opportunities that will attract the global investment our cities need to achieve our ambitions for inclusive growth.

“The Smart and sustainable work going on in parallel to the investment promotion allows the Alliance to show that we are working for the long-term economic and environmental benefits for our cities – something we are keen to emphasize.

“2018 is set to be a very exciting year for Dundee with the opening of the V&A Museum at the Waterfront and I look forward to that alongside many exciting projects in the Alliance bearing fruit for the benefit of Scotland’s cities and Scotland as a whole.”

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