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Opportunity Cromarty Firth freeport consortium discovers competition as Scottish Government economy secretary Kate Forbes MSP reveals final list of five hopefuls for game-changing status

By Hector MacKenzie

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THE bidding process to apply to become one of Scotland’s two green freeports closed this morning with a total of five bids received.

Bids have been received from:

Clyde Green Freeport

Aberdeen City & Peterhead Green Freeport

Opportunity Inverness and Cromarty Firth

Firth of Forth Green Freeport

Orkney Green Freeport

Economy Secretary Kate Forbes said: “I’m pleased to see a range of bids come in from across the country to become a green freeport. We expect green freeports to promote regeneration in the areas selected, create high quality jobs and enhance our decarbonisation plans in the just transition to a net zero economy.

“We will now jointly assess and decide on the winning bids, following the rigorous process set out in the agreed joint prospectus in which each government has an equal say. Further details of the successful applicants will be set out in the coming months.”

The Scottish Government and UK Government have published an agreed joint prospectus setting out in full the criteria for applicants, and a detailed timetable.

RELATED: Leading wind company backs Opportunity Cromarty Firth

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Among the key requirements applicants have to set out:

* how they will support high-quality employment opportunities offering good salaries and conditions; how they will create these new jobs; how they will attract companies to locate in the area; and how fair work practices will be embedded across the green freeports

* how they will contribute towards a just transition to net-zero emissions by 2045, in particular through a robust plan to facilitate the decarbonisation within the green freeport

* Green freeports will have to support both governments’ climate change ambitions.

The two green freeports will benefit from a comprehensive package of support, including:

* some initial revenue support to establish governance structures and business plans

* substantial seed capital for land assembly and infrastructure

* reserved tax reliefs in respect of capital, land and structures

* employer National Insurance reliefs

* customs easements

* devolved tax reliefs in respect of non-domestic rates and land and buildings transaction tax

* a local non-domestic rates retention scheme

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