Press Release

Balfour Beatty awarded contract to build Scotland’s first net zero prison

10 April 2024


Balfour Beatty today announces that it has been awarded a contract to construct the new £209 million HMP Highland in Inverness, Scotland, on behalf of the Scottish Prison Service.  

Balfour Beatty was first appointed to deliver the pre-construction phase, including the design of HMP Highland, in 2022. This latest phase, valued at £119 million, will see the company progress with the construction of the new, modern 18,500m2 facility comprised of two new interconnected buildings and associated infrastructure.

Scheduled for completion in 2026, HMP Highland will be the first net zero prison in Scotland with the facility designed to run off renewable energy sources such as ground source heat pumps, to align with the Scottish Government’s low carbon targets for the project.

The company will utilise modular construction methods to preassemble the internal wall panels and perimeter walls offsite in a controlled factory environment, significantly reducing carbon emissions by minimizing the number of lorry movements and material deliveries to and from site.

As part of its commitment to leaving a lasting, positive legacy in the communities in which it operates, Balfour Beatty has also committed to spending £60 million with local supply chain partners and businesses throughout the duration of the project.

On completion, HMP Highland will replace Inverness Prison and will accommodate 200 prisoners, becoming the first new prison in the area – serving the Highlands, Islands and Moray – for more than a century.

Hector MacAulay MBE, Managing Director of Balfour Beatty’s regional business in Scotland, said: “We are delighted to continue working alongside the Scottish Prison Service as we move into the construction phase of this significant and important project.

“We will draw on our extensive expertise in modern methods of construction, and our unrivalled local knowledge, to deliver this groundbreaking, best-in-class facility which will become the first net zero prison in Scotland.”

Linda Pollock, Deputy Chief Executive of the Scottish Prison Service, said: “With the support of the Scottish Government, we are committed to investing in our estate to create better environments for people to live and work.

“HMP Highland will not only increase the capacity previously available at HMP Inverness, but also provide space for quality rehabilitative work which we know gives people the greatest possible chance of a successful return to their communities on liberation.

“This project has so far seen the creation of new jobs and apprenticeships for the local area, with more to come in future.”

At construction peak, Balfour Beatty will employ 250 people with 5% of its workforce made up of apprentices, graduates, and trainees to support its commitment to The 5% Club.  


Media enquiries to:
Talha Haroun  
Balfour Beatty
+44 (0)203 810 2345 | follow us @balfourbeatty

All non-media related enquiries should be directed to +44 (0)20 7216 6800 or

Notes to editors:

  • Balfour Beatty is a leading international infrastructure group with over 25,000 employees driving the delivery of powerful new solutions, shaping thinking, creating skylines and inspiring a new generation of talent to be the change-makers of tomorrow.
  • We finance, develop, build, maintain and operate the increasingly complex and critical infrastructure that supports national economies and deliver projects at the heart of local communities.
  • Over the last 114 years we have created iconic buildings and infrastructure all over the world. Currently, we are working to deliver Hinkley Point C, the first UK nuclear power station in a generation; constructing the world-class arts and cultural facility, the Lyric Theatre, in Hong Kong; and designing, building, financing, operating and maintaining the Automated People Mover superstructure at the fifth busiest airport in the world, Los Angeles International Airport.
  • From Dunfermline’s tramways in 1909 to highland hospitals today, Balfour Beatty has been trusted for over a century to deliver the complex and critical infrastructure and iconic buildings Scotland relies on.
  • We have the people, knowledge and experience to safely deliver projects right first time, maximising value for money and ensuring a positive social impact and inclusive economic growth for local communities.
  • Our award-winning sustainable projects, including active travel, Passivhaus and retrofit, demonstrate our commitment to supporting Scotland’s transition towards net zero in the built environment.


Talha Haroun

Media & PR Executive