Green freeport bid launched by consortium for north east Scotland

A consortium has launched a bid for a green freeport in the north east of Scotland.

Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire councils, along with Aberdeen Airport, the Port of Aberdeen and Peterhead Port Authority, have staked their claim for one of the two designations set to be in Scotland, saying success could bring as many as 30,000 jobs and £7.5 billion in gross value added (GVA).

Under UK and Scottish Government plans, green freeports will provide special tax incentives for areas which have a rail, sea or airport.

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Multi-million bid for green freeport on Glasgow's River Clyde to be launched
The Port of Aberdeen

Councils in the Glasgow region launched their bid this week, with a subsequent attempt for the Firth of Forth due to be submitted.

Ian Yuill, the co-leader of Aberdeen City Council, said the establishment of a freeport in the north east could help Aberdeen become “the net zero capital of Europe”.

“If this bid succeeds, it will have a key role in securing business and jobs for the north east for years to come,” he said.

“This would build on investments already made by Aberdeen City Council, the Port of Aberdeen and the Scottisht and UK governments through the city region deal and energy transition fund.

Pictured (left to right) are Simon Brebner, Peterhead Port Authority, Bob Sanguinetti, Chief Executive, Port of Aberdeen and Jon Matthews, Group Head of Capital and Planning overlooking the £400 million Aberdeen South Harbour development at the announcement of the North East Scotland Green Freeport bid

“The legacy here of decades of enterprise, technology, research and innovation in offshore engineering and talent across the supply chain, equips Aberdeen and the north east with the foundation to deliver the vision of Aberdeen becoming the net zero capital of Europe.”

Aberdeenshire Council leader Mark Findlater said the freeport could help to accelerate a carbon capture facility in St Fergus, Aberdeenshire.

“This is an exciting time, and it is a great opportunity for Peterhead and the north east of Scotland,” he said.

“I fully support the proposed north east Scotland green freeport. In Aberdeenshire, green freeport status would accelerate the development of Scotland’s only carbon capture cluster, Acorn at St Fergus, and contribute to the decarbonisation of Scotland and Europe.

“A successful bid has the potential to create thousands of high-quality jobs for our communities in this north east corner of Scotland.”

Aberdeen Airport head of capital and planning Jon Matthews said a freeport would create “exciting opportunities”, adding: “This is very much aligned with our own ambitious net zero plans for the airport, which critically require the green freeport fiscal and operational levers to deliver.”

Simon Brebner, the chief executive of Peterhead Port Authority, said a successful bid would help Scotland and the UK to meet climate goals.

“For Scotland and the UK to reach its climate goals, it needs the energy sector in the north east of Scotland to be at the vanguard of the transition,” he said.

“The levers and incentives offered through the green freeport will provide certainty to investors that in turn will allow us to transition to innovative renewables solutions”

The bid will have to compete against separate proposals for both Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The Glasgow bid was also announced this week, with those behind the partnership hoping the project will maximise the area’s transport network and facilities at Glasgow Airport, the freight interchange at Mossend, and four deep-water ports on the River Clyde.

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