The UK and Scottish Governments have agreed to establish two green freeports in Scotland in accordance with the UK Government’s "levelling-up" initiative. It is expected that these green freeports will contribute to Scotland's goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2045, while also providing significant economic benefits to the Scottish economy.
What is a green freeport?
Green freeports operate out of a rail, air or sea port. They are designated zones in which goods can be imported, manufactured and re-exported, while being subject to fewer checks, paperwork and tariffs. This means raw materials can be imported and then engineered into whole products for export without being subject to many of the same hurdles that face other businesses.
To benefit from this, owners of the ports will be required to show a commitment to environmentally-friendly practices, such as lowering emissions and evidencing their fair working practices.
In line with the "levelling-up" initiative, which aims to reduce the imbalance between different communities across the UK, any green freeport must also provide benefits to deprived areas by, for example, creating new employment opportunities.
A decision is yet to be made as to where the new green freeports will be based. A bidding process will operate during the spring and summer months of this year, where applicants will be required to evidence their environmentally-friendly practices and fair working policies. Ports in Peterhead, Aberdeen and Dundee have already expressed an interest in submitting applications.
Bids will be reviewed by members from the UK and Scottish Governments. It is hoped that a decision will be made this year to allow for the green freeports to be in operation by spring 2023.
This project highlights Scotland's commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2045, given the requirements to demonstrate environmentally friendly practices to benefit from any tax relief. It is intended that a range of new environmentally-friendly jobs will also be created, which will increase employment opportunities in local areas and benefit the Scottish economy.