Two Fife ports at heart of ‘visionary’ bid to create freeport for Scotland

Two Fife ports could be at the heart of a freeport for Scotland, according to a ‘visionary’ bid unveiled this week.

Monday, 20th June 2022, 7:50 pm
Updated Monday, 20th June 2022, 9:25 pm

A public and private consortium led by Forth Ports, has submitted its bid for the initiative which it says could create 50,000 green jobs and unlock up to £6b of investment for Scotland.

It would encourage global companies to continue to choose Scotland as a place to invest at scale through the economic incentives offered to businesses within the Green Freeport.

The blueprint encompasses three key ports on the Forth - Rosyth, Grangemouth, and Leith - but it also takes in Burntisland among its industrial facilities and logistics centres along the north and south shores of the Forth.

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Forth Greenport infographic

A total of 19 hectares of land at Burntisland have been ringfenced for designation as a customs site, extending the Leith Renewables Hub across the north and south shores of the estuary.

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This marks a deliberate ‘twinning’ of the Leith and Burntisland Forth Green Freeport propositions and supports the intra-authority nature of this bid.

Together, this creates the largest offshore wind development area in Scotland.

New Leith outer berth with Floating Foundation and Turbine

The consortium behind it includes Fife Council, Edinburgh Airport, Falkirk Council, INEOS, Scarborough Muir Group and the City of Edinburgh Council.

Councillor Altany Craik, Fife Council’s finance and economy convene, said: “The work undertaken to date ensures that once more, Fife is being promoted as a prime investment location within Scotland.

“This is consistent with the work we continue to do within our local communities to realise regeneration and investment in our communities.

“ I welcome that Rosyth, Burntisland and other strategic sites within the proposed Green Freeport outer boundary including Longannet, support the bid for this important economic designation.”

The bid’s partners are confident that a Forth Green Freeport can be the driving force of this plan and will deliver this radical transformation for the Firth of Forth and Scotland.

It identifies strategically located tax and customs sites, which span 550 hectares in Grangemouth, Leith, Rosyth, Burntisland and Edinburgh Airport.

This will increase trade through Scotland’s sea and air gateways and support the growth of trading businesses across the Firth of Forth and at sites spread north, south and west of the estuary.

The sites are connected through excellent transport links, including five bridges - Kincardine Bridge, Clackmannanshire Bridge, Queensferry Crossing, Forth Road Bridge, and the iconic Forth Bridge - 138 rail routes, and motorways which link the three tax sites, Grangemouth, Rosyth, and Leith – with other strategically important areas in Scotland.

Charles Hammond OBE, chief executive of Forth Ports Group, said: “The Forth is Scotland’s most prized trading and industrial asset and a Forth Green Freeport enables Scotland to reduce emissions while creating technologies and jobs for the future.

“It will attract billions of investment for renewable offshore wind and hydrogen manufacture, enabling industrial decarbonisation and a reliable, clean energy supply with rapid distribution and export potential.

“Our vision is for the Forth Green Freeport to re-industrialise Scotland and spread the benefits of trade widely into the communities that need it the most, through the establishment of a green growth investment corridor creating 50,000 job.

“These jobs will not just be in Grangemouth, Leith and Rosyth, but in Glasgow and Edinburgh; Lothians, Stirling, Falkirk, and Dunfermline and Kirkcaldy.”