Capital in zone with more green and biotech jobs

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THE prospect of more jobs for Edinburgh and the Lothians in biosciences and renewable energy has been given a boost by the designation of three new enterprise zone sites.

Edinburgh’s BioQuarter, Midlothian’s Biocampus and the Port of Leith are all set to enjoy special incentives, including cuts in business rates and a streamlined planning process, in a bid to stimulate investment, create jobs and boost the economy. City economic development convener Tom Buchanan said the move was recognition of the key role which the Capital played in driving the Scottish economy.

He said: “We’re delighted Edinburgh has been recognised in relation to biosciences at Little France and the renewable sector at the Waterfront. This is a remarkable achievement for the city. It should help us to develop in these fields more quickly than we would normally expect.”

The Scottish Government announced a total of 14 sites as part of four enterprise zones, where incentives could also include broadband assistance and support for inward investment.

The BioQuarter, next to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, and Midlothian’s Biocampus at Easter Bush, Roslin, are part of the Life Sciences Enterprise area, which also includes sites at Irvine in Ayrshire, Forres in Moray, and at Inverness.

The Port of Leith, together with Dundee, forms the Low Carbon Renewables East Enterprise Area. All the zones are due to be operational from April.

Around 1200 medical jobs are based in the BioQuarter. Two spin-out companies were established last year and there are plans for three more this year. The latest building on the 20-hectare site is expected to welcome mid-size biotech companies in April.

The government said the boost for the BioQuarter would also help with the regeneration of nearby Craigmillar.

Mike Capaldi, BioQuarter’s commercialisation director, said: “The announcement by the Scottish Government that Edinburgh BioQuarter will be designated an enterprise zone is excellent news for us, and for Scotland’s life sciences industry more widely. The package of measures proposed by the Scottish Government will add to our already strong proposition as a world-leading centre.”

The Scottish Government said the 60-hectare Port of Leith site was the largest potential development area across all Scottish east coast ports and offered major opportunities for development of an offshore wind sector supply chain.