As governments move forward with their net zero plans, the Scottish and UK governments are being urged to show support for the North East of Scotland Freeport, which is likely to make that area the ‘Net Zero Capital of Europe’.
A major regional alliance has announced that it has formally bid for the status of Green Freeport, which will deliver positives across the board for the region. Investment, innovation, regional regeneration, and opportunities will all be boosted by an increased Gross Added Value of £7.5 billion over the next year.
Jon Matthews, Group Head of Capital and Planning at Aberdeen International Airport said:
“Aberdeen International Airport is delighted to be a key partner for the North East Scotland Green Freeport bid.
Achieving Green Freeport status will significantly help to transform the region, specifically in delivering new, world class renewable energy opportunities and help the country move towards net zero.”
A Green Freeport is designed to not only boost innovation, but also support inclusive growth within communities, Fair Work First practices and the creation of new jobs. All of this is done whilst upholding the highest environmental protections. A ‘large zoned area with a defined boundary which includes a rail, sea or airport,’ operators and businesses within the zone are able to get benefits and incentives, including those relating to tax.
The North East Scotland Green Freeport will also aid the Scottish and UK Governments’ commitments to repositioning the region as the ‘Net Zero Capital of Europe’ and helping Scotland’s transition into being a ‘green energy hub.’ This will be done by bringing large scale, advanced manufacturing to Aberdeen to reap the benefits of Scotland’s ever increasing offshore wind and hydrogen sectors, as well as accelerating the development of carbon capture projects on the Buchan coast.
It is expected that up to 30,000 high-quality jobs will also be created in the North East of Scotland, something that not only benefits the push for net zero, but also the government’s current plans to level up every part of the United Kingdom.
Chief Executive of Port of Aberdeen, Bob Sanguinetti, said:
“In this climate emergency, the UK needs a region with a proven track record of delivering innovative energy solutions and economic opportunities at pace. The fusion of Green Freeport status with a region internationally renowned for its resilience, adaptability and pioneering entrepreneurial spirit would deliver a prosperous new chapter in our industrial story. One which, quite literally, could help change the world.”
With the focus being on renewable energy, this area of Scotland is already highly influential, so it is no surprise that the Scottish and UK Government’s are being called upon to back the initiative, considering the current climate emergency and the emphasis being placed on every level of government to reduce carbon emissions. The plans will also create a regional customs hub that will build direct links for key exports from Scotland, such as whiskey, seafood and meat produce.