MPs hear North East freeport would spur North Sea revival

North East MP Andrew Bowie backed the North East Scotland Green Freeport bid as key to a “North Sea revival” in the House of Commons last week.

West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Mr Bowie highlighted the importance of the North East bid to Scottish Secretary Alister Jack.
West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Mr Bowie highlighted the importance of the North East bid to Scottish Secretary Alister Jack.

The UK and Scottish Governments are set to announce the two successful bids for the special zones which will enjoy tax incentives and lower tariffs around airports, seaports and rail terminals.

A consortium consisting of Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council, Port of Aberdeen, Peterhead Port Authority and the city’s airport, launched the bid in June — alongside Clyde Green Freeport, Opportunity Inverness and Cromarty Firth, Firth of Forth Green Freeport and Orkney Green Freeport.

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West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Mr Bowie highlighted the importance of the North East bid to Scottish Secretary Alister Jack.

He said: “I know my right honourable Friend agrees with me that, given the focus on a North Sea revival, given the importance of the North Sea transition deal to our future energy security, and the dynamic and pioneering spirit of business and industry in the north east of Scotland, and the fact it would create 30,000 new jobs in my constituency and around the North East of Scotland, that the Aberdeen and North East freeport bid will be the one he is announcing as the successful bid very shortly.”

Mr Jack said he was mindful of the bids which will not be subject to a “political decision” between the two governments but will be based on “metrics” as per the freeports already approved for England.

And he is hopeful that “investment zones” can be set up around the three Scottish bids which won’t be successful.

He said: “It's a process that we are following the metrics on as was done with the English reports.

“It's very important that we don't make a political decision, that we make the right decision based on the bids in front of us…because we can't leave this open to them judicial review, which would lead to further delay.”

The North East consortium notes the freeport will bring “large-scale, advanced manufacturing” to the city to “maximise economic benefit from Scotland’s rapidly growing offshore wind and hydrogen sectors”.