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Plans approved for 2 green freeports in Scotland

After a disagreement between the SNP and the U.K Government in September caused a disruption in planning, it has been announced that there will be 2 green freeports in Scotland. These are expected to be operational by Spring 2023.

The £52 million deal combines the “freeport” and “green port” models that were proposed last year for the Free Economic Zones (FEZ) in Scotland. The green freeports in Scotland will allow the same tax benefits as the other post-Brexit freeports in the U.K., but will also promote fair taxation, employee welfare, and net-zero practices.

Boris Johnson said this on the deal:

“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. I am delighted that people across Scotland will reap the benefits that will come from having two new green freeports.”

What is the difference between freeports in the U.K and green freeports in Scotland?

U.K. freeports are free economic zones that offer tax benefits to companies within a port area. Green freeports in Scotland offer the same tax benefits, but only to companies that meet criteria relating to their employment and environmental practices. For example:

– Paying the real living wage to their employees, instead of the minimum wage.

– Taking action towards achieving net-zero emissions by 2045.

Companies that are not actively working towards net-zero, or promoting a “Fair Work First” policy, will not benefit from the free economic zone.

Where will the freeports in Scotland be?

Bids for potential freeports in Scotland are being accepted by the U.K. and Scottish Governments until Summer, with the sites due to be announced later this year.

The following sites were suggested during discussions last year, so it is expected that these sites will still be up for consideration:

– Aberdeen and Peterhead
– Firth of Forth
– Glasgow
– Cairnryan 
– Shetland
– Dundee
– Hunterston
– Orkney
– Rosyth and Montose

However, it has not been confirmed whether or not all of these sites will submit bids. 

How have freeports benefitted the UK?

There are 8 freeports in England:

– East Midlands Airport
– Felixstowe and Harwich (Freeport East)
– Solent
– Humber
– Teeside
– Liverpool City
– Plymouth
– Thames

These freeports are still in development, although some are already operational, but have seen some good results in development since achieving freeport status:

– The Thames freeport, made up of London Gateway, Tilbury, and Ford Dagenham, has obtained major investment from DP World and announced record volumes in 2021.

– Teeside Freeport was the first freeport to open on Friday 19th November 2021, and has begun development in partnership with GE Renewables for a wind turbine plant in the area – leading the way for green energy. Additionally, Teesport is upgrading their linkspan bridge to improve access for deep sea and Ro/Ro traffic.

– Freeport East is central to the Norfolk and Suffolk Economic Strategy, which aims to accelerate the East of England’s transition to net-zero by upskilling local talent in the areas of digital health, smart living research, and the development of hydrogen fuel.

Do you want to know more about green freeports in Scotland?

The green freeports in Scotland add to the potential opportunities presented by free economic zones in the U.K.. If you would like to know more about how your company can use these FEZs, contact one of our experts today.


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