Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a very important condition in Scotland, England and the rest of the world. It is mainly caused by smoking in developed countries and so its distribution is strongly related to underlying socio-economic inequalities. As the population is expected to age in Scotland, it is anticipated that the burden of COPD will rise. It is important to plan the resources that will be required to provide medical care to these people. Routinely collected data in Scotland is a world class resource which can now be used for this type of research. A model has been developed by a team at Erasmus University, Rotterdam and this will be applied to the Scottish and wider UK populations. This model will project the prevalence, burden and costs of COPD up to 20 years in the future in Scotland compared with England in order to enable accurate planning by policy makers.