Glasgow set to bid to become one of Scotland’s green freeports

Glasgow is set to bid to become one of Scotland’s two freeports.

Councillors on the City Administration Committee will be asked this week to give Glasgow City Council officials the green light to engage with partners within the Glasgow City Region to put forward a green freeport bid.

New green freeports

It was announced in 2020 that 10 new freeports would be opening in the UK, with the eight English locations revealed in 2021.

It was then announced last month that the UK and Scottish governments had come to agreement to open two green freeports in Scotland.

The report explains: “To support delivery of this initiative, the UK Government has agreed to provide seed funding for the two green freeports in Scotland with an equivalent level of funding as their English counterparts, up to £52m in total.

Glasgow could become one of Scotland’s green freeports.Glasgow could become one of Scotland’s green freeports.
Glasgow could become one of Scotland’s green freeports.

“This is in addition to the tax reliefs that will be made available to each area through HMRC reserved levers. The Scottish Government will also provide rate relief through devolved tax levers, and both governments will consider how other reserved and devolved funding streams could support the successful delivery of green freeports.”

Regarding the ‘green’ aspect of the project, applicants will have to contribute towards a transition to net zero emissions by 2045, delivering net zero benefits and creating green jobs.

The two governments will assess all bids, with the winning bids expected to be announced in the summer. The new sites could be operational by May 2023.

Glasgow bid

Glasgow City Council and other local authorities within the Glasgow City Region - North Lanarkshire, Inverclyde, West Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire - have held discussions about a possible green freeport bid.

These discussions have involved private sector associated with “some of the principal transport infrastructure facilities” in the region.

The consortium is now seeking expressions of interest from consultants to help the region put forward a bid.

What is a freeport?

There are thousands of freeports around the world. They operate as secure custom zones and are subject to bespoke customs and tax arrangements.

While goods moved in and out of countries are usually subject to tariffs, payable to the country the port is in, goods which pass through freeports tend to be exempt from these.

The hope is that companies invest in the area, create jobs and boost the local economy.

While freeports are usually based at sea ports, this is not always the case. Prestwick Airport was an established freeport for many years, before this was stopped in 2012.