Scotland’s first green freeports based at Cromarty Firth and the Forth have been given the green light by the UK and Scottish governments
Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport and Forth Green Freeport will become Scotland’s first green freeports.
Development of the two freeports will be supported by up to £52m in start-up funding and will benefit from tax reliefs and other incentives through a combination of devolved and reserved powers.
Freeports benefit from a range of subsidies, including tax reliefs, customs advantages, reduced business rates, planning, regeneration, and trade and investment support.
Tax incentives include enhanced capital allowances, relief from stamp duty land tax (SDLT) and reduced employer National Insurance contributions for new employees.
Applicants were required to demonstrate how they would contribute towards the transition to net zero emissions by 2045 and create new green jobs.
They were also required to set out how they would support high-quality employment opportunities with fair working conditions at their core.
John Swinney, deputy first minister, said: ‘This is a milestone achievement in the process to deliver green freeports for Scotland. Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport and Forth Green Freeport will support businesses to create high-quality, well-paid new jobs, promote growth and regeneration, and make a significant contribution to achieving our net zero ambitions.
‘A rigorous joint selection process has been followed. The successful applicants showed a strong determination to embed fair work practices, including payment of the Real Living Wage, and to enshrine net zero initiatives in their work.
‘We look forward to working closely with them to ensure they deliver maximum positive impact and become operational as soon as possible.’
The Fort Green Freeport aims to deliver up to an additional 50,000 jobs, generate £6bn in investment and contribute over £4bn in GVA across sites in Grangemouth, Rosyth, Leith, Burntisland and Edinburgh Airport.
Its activities will focus on renewables, advanced manufacturing, alternative fuels, carbon capture utilisation and storage, shipbuilding, logistics and the creative industries.
The Inverness and Cromarty Firth bid aims to build a floating offshore wind manufacturing sector. It expects to create up to 25,000 new jobs and attract £2.6bn in inward investment. In addition to offshore wind manufacturing, it will focus on green hydrogen and creating a new innovation cluster.
The announcement comes after the Liverpool and East Anglia freeports received government approval, with £25m in seed funding, which have joined freeports that are already operating in Plymouth, Solent in Southampton, and Teesside.
Both new green freeports in Scotland are expected to open in late 2023 and will help to create over 75,000 new, high-skilled jobs.
Levelling up Secretary Michael Gove said: ‘Scotland has areas of outstanding opportunity but there are also places that can benefit from more investment to truly level up communities that have been overlooked.
‘This is a shared challenge faced by us all across the UK, which is why I’m delighted the UK and Scottish governments have collaborated to deliver two green freeports in Scotland, which will undoubtedly be transformative for future generations.
‘This will help to create exciting new jobs, boost business and encourage investment in the local areas and beyond.’
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