Today (Tuesday 27 September), Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, Fife Chamber of Commerce and Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce – representing nearly 1,500 international and Scottish businesses – declared their support for the bid for a Forth Green Freeport.
In joint letters sent to the UK and Scottish governments, the leaders of the three chambers described the bid as Scotland’s best opportunity to deliver a just transition to net zero, attract £6 billion of inward investment and build significant international trade and export capability.
The three chambers highlighted the ‘truly transformative’ bid’s vision to create:
- 50,000 high quality, green jobs in areas of local deprivation.
- 100 hectares of SME-dedicated development land to support new R&D capabilities and green incubator space to drive Scottish start-up business growth.
- Scotland’s largest offshore wind marshalling and manufacturing hub across sites at Leith, Rosyth and Burntisland, rivalling anything in northern Europe.
- New freight, rail and alternative fuel terminals.
- A development footprint to support emerging industries, including advanced modular systems, biofuels, hydrogen and carbon capture and storage.
The Forth Green Freeport bid proposes specific tax and customs sites within Edinburgh, Falkirk, Fife and Leith. Led by Forth Ports, the bid consortium comprises both private and public organisations including Babcock, Edinburgh Airport, INEOS, Scarborough Muir Group, Falkirk Council, Fife Council and The City of Edinburgh Council.
The bid was submitted to the UK and Scottish governments for assessment on 20 June 2022 and seeks to re-industrialise Scotland, create large scale economic development, boost local supply chain growth and skills development and create a world-class manufacturing cluster. The bid has the potential to act as a catalyst for new green technologies and renewable energy manufacturing.
Alan Mitchell, Chief Executive of Fife Chamber of Commerce, said: “By 2030, the ScotWind revolution has the potential to create up to £30 billion in additional investment and revenue from the North Sea. The Forth Green Freeport will dramatically drive up UK produced manufactured content by enhancing strategic sites along the Forth Estuary to ensure that the skills base and innovation assets anchor as many as possible of the 25,000 new offshore wind jobs locally. The green skills initiatives are a key component in the delivery cycle and will support SMEs to grow their role in complex supply chains and attract new people to tomorrow’s green growth industries.”
Lynn Blaikie, President of Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce, added: “The Forth Green Freeport is different from other bidders in terms of scale, added value and community engagement. For instance, the new technology-backed skills development centres will address areas of acute deprivation within our communities by extending opportunities in a form that young adults can relate to. This is vital to realise the green energy, logistics and fuels vision for Grangemouth.”
Liz McAreavey, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, said: “Delivering a just transition for Scotland’s industrial heartland needs to be carefully planned to achieve the 2045 net zero target without damaging the economy. The area around the Forth Green Freeport generates 40% of Scotland’s industrial emissions and handles half of the nation’s economic output. A green freeport programme without the Forth at its heart would substantially limit Scotland’s economic potential and would only serve as a boost for our competitors across northern Europe. The business community is already responding to the package of tax and customs incentives, with a spike in enquiries about how established companies and start-ups can use them, which is great for green growth, innovation and trade.”