Up to 30,000 high-quality jobs will be created in the North East of Scotland under ground-breaking plans to transform the region into the ‘Net Zero Capital of Europe’.
A major regional alliance has today (Friday 10 June) announced its formal bid for Green Freeport status which will boost GVA by £7.5 billion over the next decade and usher in a new era of investment, innovation, regional regeneration and opportunities for those that need them most.
The region is focused on becoming the global centre of the energy transition to lead the world in creating carbon-free energy and the technology needed to achieve Net Zero.
The announcement follows a recent visit to Aberdeen by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon during which she highlighted the Scottish Government’s commitment to reposition the region as the ‘Net Zero Capital of Europe’ and Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s pledge to boost Scotland’s transformation as a ‘green energy hub’ and deliver the UK Government’s commitments on Net Zero.
North East Scotland Green Freeport will make these commitments a reality. It will bring large-scale, advanced manufacturing to Aberdeen to maximise economic benefit from Scotland’s rapidly-growing offshore wind and hydrogen sectors and accelerate pioneering carbon capture projects on the Buchan coast. The partners believe that the fusion of Green Freeport status with the North East’s world leading energy expertise will lead the UK’s decarbonisation drive and just transition to a Net Zero economy.
It will also create a regional customs hub for premium and globally recognised Scottish food and drink exports, building direct links to key markets for products such as Scotch whisky, seafood and meat produce.
North East Scotland Green Freeport is a consortium consisting of Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council, Port of Aberdeen, Peterhead Port Authority and Aberdeen International Airport. It is also supported by a wide range of regional organisations, including the Energy Transition Zone, Net Zero Technology Centre, Storegga, Opportunity North East (ONE), Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, Robert Gordon University and University of Aberdeen.
Senior representatives of the collaborative consortium were joined today by North East business leaders at the new Aberdeen South Harbour, which will play a key role in unlocking the massive offshore wind opportunity, to issue a direct call to both the Scottish Government and UK Government to back the region’s bid.
North East Scotland Green Freeport will comprise a special economic zone within which a number of levers and tax incentives will be available to attract new inward investment and support expansion of existing businesses to invest, innovate and develop the skills needed to deliver a wide range of pioneering new projects. The ambitious proposals will secure vital trade and support the acceleration of innovation, diversification and decarbonisation of the region’s key sectors:
Bob Sanguinetti, Chief Executive of Port of Aberdeen, 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.
“So, let's back North East Scotland Green Freeport. Let's accelerate Scotland and the UK’s journey to Net Zero. Let's anchor the world's leading energy companies and talent right here for another 50 years.”
Sir Ian Wood KT GBE, Chair of Opportunity North East and Energy Transition Zone, said: “The North East Scotland Green Freeport will be vital to help cement the bridge between oil and gas and the new energies as part of a managed and just transition.
“It will ensure the North East of Scotland can maintain and build on its high value employment and innovative jobs and successfully achieve the transformation from the oil and gas capital of Europe to the Net Zero Capital of Europe.”
Jennifer Craw, CEO of Opportunity North East, said: “This region has a clear vision to diversify, build on its key sector strengths and be a leading business location in the low-carbon economy. Along with a proven track record of private sector leadership delivering investment and impact. The North East Scotland Green Freeport will build on these strong foundations for growth, attract new international investment and maximise opportunities for businesses in our established and emerging industries.”
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