The Firth of Forth has been selected to host one of the first two green freeports in Scotland.
One of five bids for green freeport status in Scotland, the Forth Green Freeport proposal and Inverness and Cromarty Firth sites were chosen by the UK and Scottish governments.
It's hoped the transformational plans will generate up to 50,000 new green jobs across the UK, acting as a catalyst for new green technologies and renewable energy manufacturing which will make a significant contribution to the re-industrialisation of Scotland.
The Forth Green Freeport consortium is a private and public partnership between government and industry.
As one of the consortium partners, Falkirk Council will work closely with Forth Ports, the Scottish and UK governments, and other partners, to realise the benefits of the project - particularly for local people and communities.
Green freeports, also known as free trade zones, are designated areas where companies can benefit from tax waivers and tax breaks.
They allow goods to be imported, manufactured and re-exported without being subject to import taxes - while committing to meeting net zero targets and supporting fair work practices.
The Forth bid’s strategically located tax and customs sites span 550 hectares in Grangemouth, Leith, Rosyth, Burntisland and Edinburgh Airport.
These locations are at the heart of Scotland’s international trade, with goods representing 30% of Scotland’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) flowing through Grangemouth alone.
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 Forth bid will unlock £6 billion of private and public investment into productive and resilient industries including sustainable fuels, offshore wind manufacturing (including floating wind), shipbuilding, air transport and seaport fast-moving logistics.
The proposal will generate a £4 billion boost to Scotland’s economy, and 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.
Charles Hammond OBE, Chief Executive of Forth Ports and lead Forth Green Freeport bid partner with sites at Leith, Grangemouth, Rosyth and Burntisland, welcomed the shortlisting by the Scottish and UK Governments:
“Today's shortlisting is great news for Scotland, for new green jobs and for the country’s drive to net zero.
“Together with our consortium partners, our bid will re-industrialise the nation and create large scale economic development. Our green freeport will accelerate investment and generate 50,000 new green jobs by acting as a catalyst for new technologies and renewable energy manufacturing.
"This has the potential to unlock £6 billion of private and public investment for Scotland and create new training facilities, factories, logistics parks, rail, freight and fuel terminals and to enhance our creative industries.
“The benefits of trade will be spread widely into the communities that need it the most, through the establishment of a green growth investment corridor creating tens of thousands of jobs in low carbon logistics, renewable energy, green manufacturing and alternative fuels. These new jobs will not just be in Grangemouth, Leith and Rosyth, but in Glasgow and Edinburgh; the Lothians, Stirling and Falkirk; Dunfermline and Burntisland; and across the UK.”
Cllr Cecil Meiklejohn, Leader of Falkirk Council said “The Forth Green Freeport bid is underpinned by a set of social values that includes inclusivity, combating of illicit activity, anti-trafficking and safety and security of both goods and people.
"Falkirk Council is delighted that the Forth Green Freeport Bid has been successful and looks forward to working with the UK and Scottish Governments and other partners to ensure that the Green Freeport brings forward not only inward investment but real benefits for our communities.
"We are particularly pleased that the Forth Green Freeport Bid commits not only to Net Zero by 2045, but to both fair work principles and a skills fund for the benefit of local people.”