Chambers of Commerce back Firth of Forth green freeport bid
Three chambers of commerce have declared their support for a green freeport in the Firth of Forth.
The Dinburgh Chamber of Commerce, Fife Chamber of Commerce and Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce, which represent almost 1,500 international and Scottish businesses, said the bid for a Forth Green Freeport would be truly transformative.
Leaders of the three chambers have written joint letters to the UK and Scottish governments, describing the bid as the best opportunity for Scotland to secure a just transition to net zero, attract £6bn in foreign investment and build significant international trade and export capabilities.
Two free ports, which will benefit from special tax incentives and reduced tariffs around airports, seaports and rail terminals, will be created north of the border under a scheme agreed by the Scottish and UK governments.
The Forth Green Freeport is different from other bidders in terms of scale, added value and community engagementLynn Blaikie, Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce
Alan Mitchell, Chief Executive of the Fife Chamber of Commerce, said: “By 2030, the ScotWind revolution has the potential to create up to £30bn of additional investment and revenue in the North Sea.
“The Forth Green Freeport will significantly increase the manufactured content produced in the UK by improving strategic sites along the Forth Estuary to ensure that the skills base and innovation assets anchor the 25,000 new offshore wind jobs locally.”
The three chambers said the bid had the potential to create Scotland’s largest offshore wind assembling and manufacturing hub and 50,000 high-quality green jobs in areas of local deprivation.
Led by Forth Ports, the bid consortium includes private and public organizations including Babcock, Edinburgh Airport, INEOS, Scarborough Muir Group, Falkirk Council, Fife Council and Edinburgh City Council .
Forth Green Freeport was among five groups that submitted bids to become freeports in June.
The others were Clyde Green Freeport, North East Scotland Green Freeport, Opportunity Inverness and Cromarty Firth, and Orkney Green Freeport.
Lynn Blaikie, President of the Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Forth Green Freeport is different from other bidders in terms of scale, added value and community engagement.
“For example, the new technology-supported Skills Development Centers will tackle areas of acute deprivation within our communities by expanding opportunities in a form that young adults can relate to.
“This is key to delivering the green energy, logistics and fuels vision for Grangemouth.”
Liz McAreavey, Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, said: “Making a just transition for Scotland’s industrial heartland needs to be carefully planned to achieve net zero by 2045 without harming to the economy.
“The area around the Forth Green Freeport generates 40% of Scotland’s industrial emissions and drives half of the country’s economic output.
“A green freeport scheme without the Forth at its heart would severely limit Scotland’s economic potential and only serve to boost our competitors across Northern Europe.”