Council to be asked to back Cairnryan green port bid

Dumfries and Galloway Council will this week be asked to support a bid to create a “green port” at Cairnryan.

Members of the council’s economy and resources committee will receive an update on the Greenport development linked to the ports of Cairnryan and be asked to agree on the bid submission, in addition to towards the costs of specialist external assistance to support the partners with the development of the final bid.

The local authority submitted a response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on ‘Scotland’s Economic Performance in December 2020 which outlined positive support for Freeport status and the benefits for the surrounding area linked to the ports of Cairnryan. The Scottish Government announced proposals for green ports in January which would slightly adapt the UK Government’s Freeport proposals containing a package of incentives including various tax and customs reliefs.

Green ports aim to achieve five key objectives:

  • promote regeneration and job creation through inclusive and sustainable growth
  • establish hubs for global trade and investment
  • contribute to a just transition to a net zero economy
  • drive fair work practice
  • foster an innovative environment

Green port operators and businesses in the zone can benefit from a package of tax and customs incentives. They will also have to adopt Fair Work First criteria, including ensuring that employees are paid fairly, and be fully committed to achieving net zero emissions.

The unique selling points of the Cairnryan ports led to the creation of the initial bid name of “SouthWest Euro Gateway”, although the eventual name of the Greenport would be a matter for the commercial operator.

A bid group, made up from public and private sector partners, has been established to determine a programme of engagement and consultation with local communities, local and national businesses with the purpose to understand their needs and requirements and to provide further information on the potential benefits and impacts of establishing the ports of Cairnryan as a Greenport.

Rob Davidson, chair of economy and resources committee, said: “This Greenport bid presents a fantastic opportunity, particularly for the west of our region. I believe we have a strong bid, notably in terms of private sector support. There are also many wider benefits for Dumfries and Galloway as a whole. Greenports aim to support innovation, boost exports and attract inward investment, all underpinned by a commitment to the vital principles of fair work and a just transition to a net zero economy. I hope our council will support the bid and that it will go on to attract wider support from our region’s MSPs and MPs too.”

Vice chair Archie Dryburgh said: “There are many benefits to the establishment of a Greenport in our region, including job creation and infrastructure improvements.

“The Initial Bid Concept Group have undertaken engagement with businesses and identified that the Renewables sector provides an additional unique selling point for the bid. There is a significant industry around renewables, including; servicing of current sites, replacement of current technologies, recycling of redundant technologies, manufacturing of parts both large and small, logistics both nationally and internally through the ports and research development and innovation.

“It is the Initial Bid Concept Groups ambition to make the SouthWest Euro Gateway Greenport a hub for green technology for Scotland, United Kingdom, Europe and eventually the rest of the world.”

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