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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.

Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, Fife Chamber of Commerce and Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce, which represent nearly 1,500 international and Scottish businesses, said the bid for a Forth Green Freeport would be truly transformative.

The leaders of the three chambers have written joint letters to the UK and Scottish governments, describing the bid as Scotland’s best opportunity to deliver a just transition to net zero, attract £6 billion of inward investment and build significant international trade and export capability.

Two freeports, which will enjoy special tax incentives and lower tariffs around airports, seaports and rail terminals, will be created north of the border in a scheme agreed by the Scottish and UK governments.

Alan Mitchell, chief executive of Fife Chamber of Commerce, said: “By 2030, the ScotWind revolution has the potential to create up to £30 billion in additional investment and revenue from the North Sea.

“The Forth Green Freeport will dramatically drive up UK-produced manufactured content by enhancing strategic sites along the Forth Estuary to ensure that the skills base and innovation assets anchor as many as possible of the 25,000 new offshore wind jobs locally.”

The three chambers said the bid has the potential to create Scotland’s largest offshore wind marshalling and manufacturing hub and 50,000 high quality, green jobs in areas of local deprivation.

Led by Forth Ports, the bid consortium comprises both private and public organisations including Babcock, Edinburgh Airport, INEOS, Scarborough Muir Group, Falkirk Council, Fife Council and The City of Edinburgh Council.

Forth Green Freeport was among five groups which in June submitted bids to become freeports.

The others were Clyde Green Freeport, North East Scotland Green Freeport, Opportunity Inverness and Cromarty Firth, and Orkney Green Freeport.

Lynn Blaikie, president of 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 instance, the new technology-backed skills development centres will address areas of acute deprivation within our communities by extending opportunities in a form that young adults can relate to.

“This is vital to realise the green energy, logistics and fuels vision for Grangemouth.”

Liz McAreavey, chief executive of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, said: “Delivering a just transition for Scotland’s industrial heartland needs to be carefully planned to achieve the 2045 net-zero target without damaging the economy.

“The area around the Forth Green Freeport generates 40% of Scotland’s industrial emissions and handles half of the nation’s economic output.

“A green freeport programme without the Forth at its heart would substantially limit Scotland’s economic potential and would only serve as a boost for our competitors across northern Europe.”