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Final Business Case For Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport Endorsed

12th June 2024

Members of the Council's Economy and Infrastructure Committee have endorsed the Final Business Case (FBC) for the Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport, signifying another major step forward in the development of Highland as a global centre for Green Energy and inward investment.

Chair of the Economy and Infrastructure Committee, Cllr Ken Gowans welcomed the report. He said: "The finalisation of the Final Business Case marks a major milestone in the delivery of the Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport, which together with our £2billion Highland Investment Plan, will bring transformative change through economic regeneration and sustainable growth in employment across the Highland region.

"With some 520 hectares of land for development, the proposals are estimated to deliver over £6.5bn of investment over the next 25 years, enable 18,300 long-term jobs to be created across the UK and provide Non Domestic Rates (NDR) revenues of £547m for additional investment in Highland.

"This will significantly reverse population decline and attract new skills and innovation industries and there is already work underway to create career pathways and partnerships to develop the future workforce of the Highlands to meet current and future business demand, attracting public/private investment and best practice."

Members considered an update on the progress with the Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport (ICFGF) following Council approval of the Outline Business Case (OBC) stage in October 2023, and formal designation of the tax sites in April 2024.

The formal designation and finalisation of the legal status of the Green Freeport tax sites came into effect on 8 April 2024. This makes live the tax incentives and allows businesses developing the sites to benefit from them. The recent announcements of the development of the Sumitomo Cable Factory at Nigg, as well as the additional investment secured at the Ardersier Yard are strong signs of the potential that the Green freeport can deliver.

The FBC adds more detail to the overall ICFGF project outline. The purpose of the FBC to put in place the management arrangements for the successful delivery of the project's outputs and activities.

The endorsement of the Final Business Case will be put to full Council for ratification at its meeting on 27 June.

Calum MacPherson, Chief Executive of Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport (ICFGF), said: "We are grateful for the continued support of The Highland Council. From the outset Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport has been a great example of the public and private sectors coming together for the long-term benefit of the Highlands and Scotland.

“Our full business case will now be submitted to the Scottish and UK governments for further consideration."

A link to the agenda and papers for the Special meeting on 11 June 2024 can be found at https://www.highland.gov.uk/meetings/meeting/4996/economy_and_infrastructure_committee

 

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