MP and MSPs back Forth Ports’ vision for a Firth of Forth Green Freeport to create a green growth corridor

Wednesday May 25, 2022
Green Freeport has potential to generate 50,000 new green jobs

Following the launch today (25 March) of the 12-week Green Freeport bidding process by the UK and Scottish governments, local politicians have stepped up to strongly back Forth Ports Group’s plan to submit a compelling proposal for a Firth of Forth Green Freeport.

Its proposal has the potential to generate up to 50,000 new green jobs and act as a catalyst for new green technologies and renewable energy manufacturing which will make a significant contribution to the re-industrialisation of Scotland.

Building on Forth Ports’ 50 years of operation, the business plans to submit a bid that encompasses key ports, industrial facilities and logistics centres along the north and south shores of the Firth of Forth and at Edinburgh Airport to create a green investment zone. Strategic locations include:

  • The Port of Grangemouth, Scotland’s largest port and principal export hub (handling 30% of Scottish GDP) and its major petrochemical cluster
  • The Port of Leith, where Forth Ports has initiated work on the nation’s largest offshore renewable energy hub alongside energy giant, bp and EnBW.
  • The Port of Rosyth, the nation’s agri bulks hub, with capacity to expand and create new trade routes to continental Europe

Forth Ports is Scotland’s largest ports operator and owner of seven ports on the east coast of Scotland. It has formed a team of experts to drive forward a bid focused on harnessing the substantial industrial skills-base, natural capital, industrial assets, logistics and reputation for innovation to create a unique green investment zone. It is confident that a Firth of Forth Green Freeport will encourage global companies to continue to choose Scotland as a place to invest at scale by taking advantage of the economic incentives offered to businesses establishing within a Green Freeport.

Forth Ports’ proposal is supported by Edinburgh City Council, Falkirk Council, Fife Council, local MSPs and MPs. Charles Hammond OBE, Chief Executive of Forth Ports Group, said: “Now is the time for us to be bold, creating a green growth corridor the length of the Firth of Forth that will kickstart the re-industrialisation of Scotland’s Central Belt.

It’s great to have the backing of our local politicians. Our Firth of Forth Green Freeport will provide the essential platform for Scotland’s decarbonisation through the creation of a green growth investment corridor creating 50,000 new, high-quality jobs in renewable energy, manufacturing, sustainable fuels and construction.”

The company believes that the Firth of Forth Green Freeport will play a major role in Scotland’s economic recovery from Covid-19. It will also accelerate the country’s Just Transition to meet Net Zero targets by providing investment incentives to deliver greater inclusive growth centred on fair work practices. Forth Ports is an accredited Real Living Wage Employer.

Michelle Thomson, SNP MSP for Falkirk East, said: “I welcome Forth Ports’ commitment to bringing a Green Freeport to the Firth of Forth. Grangemouth presents a significant strategic and economic opportunity for a Green Freeport. Combining that potential with the opportunities at Rosyth and Leith is an encouraging and ambitious proposal.

This is an opportunity to do things differently, with a tailor-made Scottish approach. Providing fair working opportunities, opening sustainable opportunities for innovation and boosting the economic prospects of our communities. I trust that these proposals will benefit the communities, people and businesses of Grangemouth and beyond and look forward to seeing the detailed application.”

Douglas Chapman, SNP MP for Dunfermline and West Fife, said: “I’m encouraged that Forth Ports has confirmed it will submit a bid to establish a Green Freeport on the Firth of Forth, which will incorporate the Port of Rosyth. This model is a bespoke solution for our nation, tailored to Scotland’s fair work commitments with guarantees of wide-reaching local community benefits and vital net zero targets.

It is welcome news that the company’s proposal for the site has the potential to expand and create new trade routes to continental Europe – a big boost for the campaign to re-establish the Rosyth ferry link into Zeebrugge. If successful, this bid could assist the West Fife economy by generating a high number of jobs in key areas including green technologies and manufacturing as well as helping to secure a direct ferry link to important export markets for Scotland.”

Graham Simpson, Conservative MSP for Central Scotland, said: “I’m backing the bid for a Firth of Forth Green Freeport. The plan will accelerate Scotland’s main industrial cluster’s path to a decarbonised future, with Grangemouth at the centre of sustainable fuel technology development. Whether it’s driving forward green skills pathways for young adults, creating a renewables manufacturing footprint at Leith to rival the Tees or delivering a start-up business growth platform, the breadth and depth of Forth Ports’ plans are deeply impressive.”

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