Vestas 'interest'

Danish turbine manufacturer targets Forth Freeport

Dame Susan Rice: ‘we move from business case to delivery’

A plan to attract £7bn of private and public investment to the east of Scotland over the next decade begins today as the Forth Green Freeport is declared ‘open for businesss’.

There are hopes that Danish company Vestas will be among the first big investments to the site after it lodged a Proposal of Application Notice with the city council to build blades for offshore wind turbines on land east of the port’s Imperial Dock.

Vestas has cautioned on expectations, saying a decision on the Leith plant had still to be made and would depend on firm orders coming in from wind farm developers.

The company has a blade plant on the Isle of Wight while the only other one in the UK is in Hull, which is operated by Siemens Gamesa.

Forth is one of two tax-beneficial freeports in Scotland, the other being Inverness and Cromarty Firth, and it aims to generate more than 38,000 jobs.

The Scottish and UK Governments have approved the outline business case for Forth and the designation of its three tax sites over 533 hectares in Grangemouth, Rosyth, and Mid-Forth (Leith and Burntisland).

This is a refinement of the overall area following the inclusion of land owned by the Royal Navy in Rosyth (HMS Caledonia) and the joining of the Burntisland site with the Leith site to create the Mid-Forth tax site.

Chaired by Dame Susan Rice, it will focus on re-industrialisation and large-scale economic regeneration through key target sectors – offshore wind, hydrogen, sustainable fuels, modular manufacturing and logistics.

Dame Susan said: “This is it, Forth Green Freeport is officially open for business. It is an important time for the Green Freeport as we move through the business case development phase to delivery for Scotland.

“Through innovations in offshore wind manufacturing, assembly and commissioning, alongside innovative shipbuilding, modular assembly and hydrogen manufacture, the country’s net zero targets can be boosted by Forth Green Freeport.

“This is a long-term project and one which we know will deliver real benefits to the local communities through economic growth, skills re-training and training and access to high quality, green jobs.”

The investment incentives will only apply to businesses which commit to and deliver against a set of demanding investor principles that will guide all landowners and developers.  This will include abiding by the Fair Work Charter, which prioritises the rights, wages and working conditions of employees.

The principles also require businesses to buy into Forth Green Freeport’s net zero commitments.

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