Edinburgh Green Freeport: MSPs back Firth of Forth green freeport bid to 'create 50,000 jobs'
The bid, centred on Leith, Grangemouth and Rosyth, identifies specific sites where businesses would enjoy tax and customs incentives and aims to "re-industrialise" Scotland by acting as a catalyst for new green technologies and renewable energy manufacturing.
A decision is expected in the coming weeks on the winning locations of two Green Freeports for Scotland, which was submitted in June 2022 to the Scottish and UK Governments.
Business leaders from Edinburgh, Fife and Forth Valley chambers of commerce, which represent nearly 1,500 international and Scottish businesses, have declared their support for the bid in joint letters sent to the UK and Scottish governments.
They described the bid as Scotland’s best opportunity to deliver a just transition to net zero, attract inward investment and build significant international trade and export capability.
The Forth Green Freeport bid has been put forward by a consortium of private and public organisations led by Forth Ports and including Babcock, Edinburgh Airport, Ineos, Scarborough Muir Group, and Edinburgh, Fife and Falkirk councils.
It is understood each will be scored on high-quality employment, plans to attract companies, a move towards net-zero emissions by 2045 and how quickly the sites can be up and running.
Scotland is due to have two designated Green Freeports and there are five bids under consideration – the Firth of Forth bid; a Clyde proposal including Glasgow; another for the north-east including Aberdeen and Peterhead; a Highlands bid around the Cromarty Firth; and Orkney.
Forth Ports Chief Operating Officer said the bid will accelerate large-scale investment in new infrastructure, technology and skills training to “catapult” Scotland’s transition to a cleaner and greener future.
Lothian Conservative MSP Miles Briggs said: “Scotland needs the private sector to invest at scale to decarbonise our economy and that’s why I back the bid for a Forth Green Freeport.
“If selected, Scotland will have a huge green development platform at Leith to drive up UK manufactured content from the ongoing offshore wind revolution, while creating a legacy that leaves Scotland with a more secure energy supply with genuine export potential.
“This, coupled with the exciting development plans at the airport, will leave us better connected as we forge new partnerships around the globe.”
Northern Edinburgh and Leith MSP Ben Macpherson said: “This ambitious proposal has the potential to deliver even more local opportunities, as the port develops into a renewables hub, and to help accelerate a just transition to a greener future.
"It would also create more job opportunities in Scotland’s growth industries like offshore wind manufacturing, with a commitment to pay at least the Real Living Wage, and indirectly support other sectors of the local economy.”