A bid for the Firth of Forth’s green freeport has been submitted today by a public and private sector consortium led by Forth Ports.
It claims to have the potential to generate 50,000 new green jobs and act as a catalyst for new green technologies and renewable energy manufacturing, unlocking £6bn of private and public investment for Scotland.
A Forth Green Freeport will aim to encourage global companies to choose Scotland as a place to invest at scale through the economic incentives offered to businesses.
The bid encompasses three key ports on the Forth – Grangemouth, Leith and Rosyth – as well as industrial facilities and logistics centres along the north and south shores; and Edinburgh Airport.
Led by Forth Ports, the bid consortium also includes Babcock, Edinburgh Airport, Ineos, the Scarborough Muir Group and the Fife, Falkirk and City of Edinburgh councils.
The bid identifies strategically located tax and customs sites, which span 550 hectares in Grangemouth, Leith, Rosyth, Burntisland and Edinburgh Airport.
The sites are connected through existing transport links, including five bridges – Kincardine Bridge, Clackmannanshire Bridge, Queensferry Crossing, Forth Road Bridge and the Forth Bridge – along with 138 rail routes and motorways which link the three tax sites – Grangemouth, Rosyth and Leith – with other strategically important areas in Scotland.
Charles Hammond, chief executive of Forth Ports Group, said: “Scotland has just over 20 years to deliver national decarbonisation and our bid provides an unmissable opportunity to deliver this in support of the country’s net zero ambitions.
“Our team already has a track record of successfully delivering a freeport in England; we have unlocked large, undeveloped industrial sites; and we have credible investors lined up to deliver the innovation required for inclusive and sustainable growth in Scotland’s economy.”
Cammy Day, the new City of Edinburgh Council leader, said: “This is about pushing for sustainable, inclusive growth in the North of Edinburgh and our economy as a whole. Our long-term investment in the tram extension to Newhaven is already unlocking swathes of north Edinburgh for development and regeneration.
“If a Green Freeport to Leith and a customs site at the airport are brought forward, we will continue to work to make sure North Edinburgh benefits from a whole East to West corridor of net zero economic growth.”
The bid’s strategic sites include:
- The Port of Grangemouth, Scotland’s largest port and principal export hub – handling 30% of Scottish GDP – is home to its major petrochemical cluster. Grangemouth is Scotland’s busiest port, with the shortest direct freight link to Europe, handling 9 million tonnes of global cargo every year. The Grangemouth tax site also includes 226 hectares of under-developed land.
- At the Port of Leith, Forth Ports has already started work on a £50m investment in nation’s largest offshore renewable energy hub alongside BP and EnBW. The Leith tax site features 167 hectares of Forth Ports-owned, under-developed land. The tax incentives will support the redevelopment of the current port structure into the Leith Renewables Hub: an offshore wind manufacturing and marshalling site; supported by a cluster of offshore wind SMEs and a start-up incubator.
- The Port of Rosyth, Scotland’s largest agri-bulks hub, has the capacity to expand and create new trade routes to continental Europe. The site comprises 168 hectares of underdeveloped land from landowners Forth Ports, Babcock and Scarborough Muir Group. The tax incentives will support Rosyth to become a hub for innovation in modular manufacturing in offshore wind, shipbuilding and energy systems.
- 19 hectares of land at Burntisland on the northern bank of the Forth Estuary has been ring-fenced for designation as a customs site, extending the Leith Renewables Hub across the north and south shores of the estuary.
- A 13-hectare customs zone at Edinburgh Airport’s Global Air Park is designated for air-related logistics and warehousing expansion targeted at the growth markets of e-commerce, pharmaceuticals and perishables. Edinburgh Airport is the largest freight handling airport in Scotland and the largest mail handler, managing around half of all the nation’s air mail.
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