Local News

Orkney Through to the Next Round Vying for Green Freeport Status

The UK and Scottish Governments plan to establish two ‘Green’ Freeports in Scotland took another step forward.

Neil O’Brien MP, Minister for Levelling Up, the Union and Constitution, in the UK Government said:

“I’m delighted that our proposal to establish two Green Freeports has received five strong bids from ports right across Scotland.

“Now, in partnership with the Scottish Government, we will review the applications and decide which two proposals will become Green Freeports – hubs that will support a net zero economy in Scotland and bring hundreds of jobs to the successful areas, backed by £52 million in UK Government funding.

“I look forward to announcing the successful Green Freeports later this year and seeing them deliver for the people of Scotland.”

The bids being considered are

  • Clyde Green Freeport
  • Aberdeen City & Peterhead Green Freeport
  • Opportunity Inverness and Cromarty Firth
  •  Firth of Forth Green Freeport
  • Orkney Green Freeport

Earlier this year the Scottish Government published their guide for bidders to obtain Green Freeport status.

  • support high-quality employment opportunities that offer good salaries and conditions
  • embed fair work practices in the wider Green Freeport area to help bring wider benefits
  • contribute to Scotland’s climate ambitions and help reach net zero

UK Ministers are expected to provide up to £52 million in seed funding to help establish Green Freeports in Scotland which is in line with funding offered to Freeports across England.

Despite the enthusiasm by both the UK and Scottish Governments for Freeports, there are considerable concerns on how they impact other areas of the country by sucking in investors looking for tax havens. The Orkney News reported two years ago of the desire by those with interests in the islands to develop the excellent harbour facilities as a Green Freeport: Orkney – An ‘Innovation’ FREEPORT ? and Could Orkney Be A Green Port?

If Orkney does win Green Freeport status it will be interesting to see how the aims of fair work unfold and the hundreds of high quality jobs that have been promised.

Alister Jack, Secretary of State for Scotland in the UK Government said:

“We are well on our way to establishing two Scottish Green Freeports with five bids received.

“We will now carefully assess the bids to decide which two ports will become Scotland’s Green Freeports.

“UK Freeports are a key part of the UK Government’s Levelling Up strategy – they will bring innovation, high-quality jobs, prosperity and regeneration for the benefit of the whole of Scotland.”

A Summer’s Night Kirkwall Harbour (K Armet)

Fiona Grahame