The consortium behind the Forth Green Freeport has submitted its Outline Business Case (OBC) to the Scottish and UK Governments following its successful shortlisting earlier this year.
Submission of the OBC is an important step in the process towards securing green freeport status as the team refines its visionary bid for Scotland. At the heart of the Forth Green Freeport’s vision, which will be delivered by the public and private sector consortium*, is the re-industrialisation of Scotland, the creation of large-scale economic regeneration, well paid high skilled green jobs and a just transition to net zero that benefits the wider Green Freeport approved area.
The Forth Green Freeport’s economic impact assessment forecasts that this will drive up to £7bn of private and public investment over the next decade, delivering Gross Value Added (GVA) of £8.4bn. The Forth Green Freeport will be the catalyst for creating up to 38,350 jobs, with almost 19,000 of these being direct gross jobs linked to the target sectors. The target sectors of the Forth Green Freeport will require a higher paid, more skilled workforce as well as creating other jobs across the supply chains.
The OBC focuses on three strategically located tax sites and a number of potential customs sites, which span 552 hectares in Grangemouth, Leith, Rosyth, Burntisland and Edinburgh Airport. This is a refinement of the overall area following the inclusion of land owned by the Royal Navy in Rosyth (HMS Caledonia) and the joining of the Burntisland site to the Leith site to create the Mid-Forth tax site.
As a result of the increased economic activity associated with the Forth Green Freeport, the consortium remains committed to ensuring that the communities in and around the tax sites benefit from the inward investment. The governing board and the three local authorities aim to deliver ongoing investment in economic related infrastructure that creates and develops a wider sense of place linked to the Forth Green Freeport.
Significant investment is needed over the next decade to reduce industrial carbon emissions across the country through innovations in cleaner fuels, energy and logistics. The Forth Green Freeport will accelerate Scotland’s green development profile, with a focus on offshore wind (fixed bottom and floating), manufacturing and the production of alternative fuels (biofuels and low carbon hydrogen).
The Forth Green Freeport will drive growth in Leith, Burntisland and Rosyth through the manufacture of the next generation of offshore wind components, including floating offshore wind (FLOW), while stimulating innovative shipbuilding and advanced modular manufacturing and assembly at Babcock’s site in Rosyth. In Grangemouth, investment will support the just transition from the reliance on hydrocarbons to alternative fuels and energy sources. Together, these will have a far-reaching impact for the whole of Scotland and provide opportunities for greater trade across the wider Forth estuary.
Strong governance is a key thread throughout the OBC. A governing board has been established and is active, with an independent Chair, Dame Susan Rice DBE, now appointed. The board has representatives from all consortium partners and includes elected members from all three local authorities and advisers from both the Scottish and UK Governments. There will also be an employee representative on the board.
The consortium has established a strict set of Investor Principles which all landowners and developers will be required to adhere to. This will include abiding by the Fair Work Charter which prioritises the rights, wages and working conditions of employees. The principles also require businesses to abide with Forth Green Freeport’s net zero commitments.
Dame Susan Rice, Chair of Forth Green Freeport, said: “The OBC submission is a key step in the green freeport process as we undertake our due diligence on the vision that was set out at the bid stage. The team have been working hard over the past few months to refine the contents of the bid to shape how the Forth Green Freeport will be governed, operated and delivered for Scotland. We now await the feedback from both the Scottish and UK Governments before we begin creating the final business case early next year.
“The Forth Green Freeport is a true partnership of private and public sector organisations who share the same vision for the Forth. The delivery of significant investment through the Forth Green Freeport is a key element in reducing emissions across the country through innovations in offshore wind manufacturing, assembly and commissioning, alongside innovative shipbuilding, modular assembly and hydrogen manufacture.”
The OBC document was submitted to the Scottish and UK Governments on Friday 24 November. The OBC will now be reviewed by both Governments before being approved, allowing the Forth Green Freeport to become operational. The consortium will then develop the Final Business Case which develops the detail in the OBC further and secures the seed capital funding linked to the Green Freeport. The FBC will be submitted to the Scottish and UK Governments in Spring 2024.