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(02 - 09 - 2013)


EU Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn is in Scotland – in Shetlands, Orkneys and Edinburgh on 2-4 September to see on the ground the use being made of EU structural funds there. He will be meeting with key players and representatives nationally and locally and will be visiting some of the projects that demonstrate the dynamism of the region at play.


The Scottish Government is targeting efforts at boosting public sector capital investment, improving access to finance and encouraging new private investment, enhancing economic security to support confidence across the Scottish economy and taking direct action to tackle unemployment. Other major policy initiatives which have an impact on Structural Funds include the Digital Strategy, setting out plans for achieving world class infrastructure by 2020.


Scotland is committed to using regional policy funding to advance European policy objectives as set out in the Europe 2020 strategy. Investments are made in venture capital, urban regeneration, business growth, renewables, rural development and youth employment. The investments include strong focus on renewable energy and the low carbon economy, Research &Development, investment in human capital and enhancing digital connectivity.


Scotland is a part of the United Kingdom and occupies the northern third of the island of Great Britain. In addition to the mainland, Scotland constitutes over 790 islands including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides. It has a surface area of around 78,400 km2 and a population of 5.3 m. Its capital is Edinburgh. In 2010, the GDP per capita for Scotland was 7.3% higher than the EU-average, but there are disparities within the region: Lowlands and Uplands of Scotland have a GDP/hab. 61% higher than EU average while Highlands and Islands of Scotland are 12.7% below the EU average.


What contribution does the EU’s regional policy make?

The 2007 - 2013 Structural Funds Programmes are well underway with hundreds of projects across Scotland The resources being made available are allowing to focussing Structural Funds on Scottish priorities and strategies and assist the economy during difficult times.

Scotland benefits from two EU regional policy programmes: Highlands and Islands of Scotland convergence programme and the Lowlands and Uplands of Scotland competitiveness programme.

The programme for the Lowlands and Uplands of Scotland with an ERDF contribution of EUR 376 million covers Eastern, Western and Southern Scotland. The programme combines a strategic focus on research, innovation and enterprise development with geographical targeting of deprived areas in urban and rural areas. Ample resources have been allocated to financial engineering instruments both for investment in SMEs and in urban regeneration projects. The programme for the Highlands and Islands region with an ERDF contribution of EUR 122 million is focused on enhancing business competitiveness and innovation and the key drivers of sustainable growth (including research and higher education) and on assisting peripheral and fragile areas.

From these two programmes, a GBP 20m innovation and growth programme has been launched on 19 June 2013 to support SMEs. The programme will leverage a further GBP30 million from public- and third-sector partners to deliver projects supporting economic growth across the country. The new programme will fund projects, to be operational by the autumn 2013, which demonstrate an impact on job creation by investing in business competitiveness, innovation and improving employment opportunities of young people and people living in deprived and fragile communities.

Scotland also has access to regional policy funding for cross-border projects in the framework of the territorial cooperation programme with Ireland and Northern Ireland (ERDF contribution of EUR 192 million).


Project examples:

Orkney Marine Renewables Infrastructure at Hatston (Hatston Pier) and Vessel Traffic Service Network (VTS): EU contribution GBP 3,360,000

This project involves the development of a Marine Energy Service Base at Hatston & establishment of two new radar sites for the Vessel Traffic Service Network. The marine renewables industry had already started to use the existing Hatston facility in relation to the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) tidal test site on Eday but the existing berthing and laydown infrastructure was operating at capacity & could not accommodate additional usage. The new facility in Hatston will act as deployment, operation and maintenance centre.

Stromness – Marine Renewables Service Base :EU contribution: GBP 1,815,000

This project, known as Coplands Dock, is the construction of a new quayside / dock space along with laydown and storage areas in the city of Stromness. It is expected to be completed end 2013 and will provide better access to processing plants for the fishing fleet and better access for heavy industry and road transport and therefore better serve the marine renewables sector while reducing the impact of the activities of the harbour on the picturesque and touristic town centre.

Low Carbon Shetland from the Hjaltland Housing Association: energy efficiency in Social Housing EU contribution: GBP 624,354

The aim of this project is to install 235 homes with a new and innovative storage heating and water heating system which will provide a more efficient and controllable heating solution, enabling more renewable connections to the Shetland grid. These alternative heating solutions for homes will help combat fuel poverty and decrease energy costs to the householder, and thereby reducing dependence on fossil fuels and the carbon and pollution associated with it. It will allow Shetland to move toward a more sustainable future in terms of local energy production on the Islands.

Edinburgh Centre on Climate Change EU contribution: GBP 2,238,000

The Edinburgh Centre on Climate Change aims to bridge the gap between research bases, live projects and SMEs in order to support the delivery of a low carbon economy in particular in the fields of carbon accounting, foot printing and monitoring in the building, transport and infrastructure sectors. One EU co financed project aims at reviewing, identifying and marketing innovation opportunities of 200 SMEs. The second EU co financed project is the building of a hub to co-locate people and the exchange of low carbon ideas between business, public sector and researchers. 


Further information:

Scottish Government European Structural Funds Division (Managing Authority responsible for the implementation of Structural Funds in Scotland)