Bidding opens for two landmark Green Freeports in Scotland

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The UK and Scottish governments have today set out their shared vision for what Green Freeports in Scotland should look like, with bidding now open for the ground-breaking sites (25 March 2022).

A new prospectus for potential bidders sets out how the Green Freeports will regenerate local areas, create high quality jobs and support transition to a net zero economy.

Consortiums will have 12 weeks from today to assess the prospectus and prepare their bids, which will be assessed by officials working together from the UK and Scottish governments, with ministers having an equal say on the final selection.

This comes after a landmark agreement was reached earlier this year by the governments to collaborate on two new Green Freeports, with £52 million in UK government funding provided.

Both governments are looking for Green Freeports in locations that take full advantage of the diverse potential of Scotland’s communities and welcome proposals from a wide range of groups.

Secretary of State for Levelling Up Michael Gove MP said:

I’m proud that today we have launched the bidding process for Green Freeports. They are a key part of our levelling up agenda, and will bring jobs and prosperity to the successful areas.

We have worked closely with the Scottish Government to ensure that Green Freeports support their transition to the net zero economy and help to regenerate local areas.

I am excited to see the innovative proposals come forward, and these Green Freeports built so they can start to deliver for the people of Scotland.

Applicants are being encouraged to show how the new Green Freeports will:

  • Help boost the Scottish economy. This includes boosting the number of skilled jobs available for local people and creating an economy that makes a positive contribution internationally, delivering high quality, fair work for everyone.
  • Support Scotland’s transition to a net zero economy by reducing emissions and responding to climate change in a way that is fair for Scotland’s communities. For example, making sure that vessels using the port reduce the use of fossil fuels.
  • Form strong partnerships with ports, local businesses, academic institutions and local authorities that will contribute to both the net zero and levelling up agendas.
  • Bring new investment into the surrounding areas and increase trade. This could be through developing specific spaces to develop and trial new ideas and technologies, and supporting innovative new firms.
  • Advance equality and diversity, particularly for groups who are currently underrepresented in the Freeport industries and show how people affected by socio-economic disadvantage can benefit.

Scottish Government Economy Secretary Kate Forbes said:

This joint prospectus recognises the distinct needs of Scotland’s economy by clearly setting out how any bids to establish Green Freeports in Scotland must help deliver net zero ambitions and embed fair work practices.

Earlier this month I published a new national strategy to help transform the economy. This included clear commitments that will help create good quality green jobs, deliver fairer working conditions, secure our just transition to net zero and grow international markets that bring new supply chain benefits to all of Scotland. Green Freeports will be an important vehicle to help deliver these ambitions.

Teesside Freeport, which has recently begun operations, is estimated to create more than 18,000 new highly skilled jobs and generate £3.2 billion for the local community over 5 years. It is anticipated that the new Green Freeports will create similar benefits across Scotland.

It is expected that the successful Green Freeport locations will be announced in early autumn 2022, beginning operations in spring 2023.

Secretary of State for Scotland, Alister Jack said:

The UK government is investing £52 million to bring two Green Freeports to Scotland, working jointly with the Scottish Government. UK Freeports are a key part of the UK government’s Levelling Up Strategy – they will bring inward investment, jobs, prosperity and regeneration.

It’s great news that the prospectus has now been published and bids are now being welcomed. I know there is a huge amount of interest from Scottish operators, and I look forward to a really strong and creative field.

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