UK and Scottish governments make landmark agreement to establish 2 new Green Freeports in Scotland

UK and Scottish governments make landmark agreement to establish 2 new Green Freeports in Scotland

  • Bidders must set out how they will regenerate the area, create high quality jobs and support transition to a net-zero economy
  • The UK government has committed funding up to £52 million to support the new Green Freeports
  • Builds on UK government’s plan to level up whole of UK and good progress continues on discussions about Welsh freeports

A landmark deal has been agreed between the UK and Scottish governments to collaborate and deliver 2 Green Freeports in Scotland.
The new hubs will support the regeneration of communities across Scotland, will bring jobs and prosperity, and support UK government work to level-up all 4 corners of the United Kingdom.
The Green Freeports will have net-zero targets at the heart as prospective bidders will have to make a pledge to reach Net Zero by 2045.
The bidding process will open in Spring, closing in Summer, after which the bids will be assessed, and successful locations announced. It’s hoped that the new sites will be operational by Spring 2023.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

Freeports will help to accelerate our plan to level up communities across the whole of the United Kingdom.

They have the power to be truly transformational by creating jobs and investment opportunities to enable people to reach their potential, and I am delighted that people across Scotland will reap the benefits that will come from having 2 new Green Freeports.

The agreement with the Scottish Government builds on UK government’s ambitious long-term plan to spread opportunity more equally across the whole of the UK, as set out in the Levelling Up White Paper. As part of this, we are determined to ensure every corner of the UK can reap the benefits of our Freeport programme – supporting regeneration while attracting new jobs, business and investment.
The Secretary of State for Levelling Up and Secretary of State for Wales have discussed this issue with counterparts in the Welsh Government, and good progress is being made towards an agreement that would see a new Freeport delivered in Wales as part of a shared endeavour between UK and Welsh Governments. We hope to be able to announce details shortly.
Secretary of State Michael Gove said:

This is a truly exciting moment for Scotland, and I am delighted we will be working together with the Scottish government to set up 2 new Green Freeports.
Green Freeports help inject billions into the local economy, while levelling-up by creating jobs for local people, and opportunities for people all over the UK to flourish.

By collaborating using opportunities like Green Freeports we can work to level-up the whole of the UK and bring benefits and opportunities to communities that need it most.

Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy, Kate Forbes said:

I am pleased we have been able to reach an agreement on a joint approach that recognises the distinct needs of Scotland and enshrines the Scottish Government’s commitment to achieving net-zero and embedding fair work practices through public investment.

Scotland has a rich history of innovative manufacturers and so as we look to grasp the many opportunities of achieving net-zero, the establishment of Green Freeports will help us create new green jobs, deliver a just transition and support our economic transformation.

Officials from the UK and Scottish governments will jointly assess the prospective bids to ensure they meet their shared goals and ministers will have an equal say on the final selection of the locations.
Any sea, air or rail port can apply as part of a consortium with other businesses, the council, and other relevant public bodies. However, any consortium wishing to bid to establish Green Freeport must guarantee that local communities will benefit from it, as well as delivering on ambitious targets for Net Zero.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said:

It’s fantastic that there will soon be 2 new Freeports in Scotland – these sites will boost innovation and trade, create new jobs, and level up communities as we deliver lasting prosperity across the UK.

Based on the outlined business case of Freeports, we expect the existing confirmed Freeports across the UK will add £23.9 billion in additional gross value added and bring forwards £25.3 billion in private investment. As the bids have not been received for the Green Freeports, we won’t yet be able to speculate on what additional gross value added they will provide.