Green ports

We are developing plans to establish green ports. Our green port model for Scotland adapts the UK government’s freeport model to fit the Scottish context.

A green port is a large zoned area within a defined boundary which includes a rail, sea or airport.  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.

Scotland is a dynamic, open nation with an outward facing economy. Values are important to us, and they have never been more important to global businesses.

Our sustainable, fair, green port model is designed to be an exemplar of Scotland’s values and ambitions so that it not only boosts innovation and inclusive growth within communities, but also delivers Fair Work First practices, upholds the highest environmental protections and contributes to a net zero economy. The green port model adapts the UK Government’s freeport model, adding Scotland’s priorities to it.

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

Working together with the UK Government we intend to partner with business, local authorities and other stakeholders to achieve these shared goals. The green port model requires operators and businesses benefitting from the package of incentives to:

  • adopt our Fair Work First approach, which includes payment of the real Living Wage
  • adopt the Scottish Business Pledge
  • commit to supporting sustainable and inclusive growth in local communities
  • contribute to Scotland’s just transition to net zero

Green ports aim to support innovation, boost exports and attract inward investment, leading to increased productivity in line with the core principles set out in Scotland’s Vision for Trade: inclusive growth, sustainability, net zero, wellbeing and good governance.

Green ports – noting interest in becoming a green port

The Scottish Government is committed to the publication of a full Applicant Prospectus and launch of a selection process for the designation of green ports in Scotland as soon as possible. We want to work in partnership with the UK Government on this matter. However, the UK Government has not yet agreed the terms of the draft Applicant Prospectus. An abridged copy of the draft Applicant Prospectus was published on the Scottish Government website in March.

In advance of publication of the full Applicant Prospectus and commencement of a selection process, the Scottish Government is now seeking to gauge the level of interest by inviting potential applicants, including multi–applicant partnerships, to note their interest in participating in a competitive green port selection process.  

To note your intention to apply please email by close of business on 27 July 2021 and include the following information:

  • your name and contact details
  • proposed green port name
  • proposed green port location
  • name of the organisation (or organisations where there will be a multi-applicant partnership) interested in applying to become a green port operator and the sector(s) in which they operate
  • any other relevant information you would like to share with the Scottish Government at this time 

This exercise forms part of our stakeholder consultation on green ports and will provide an indication of the geography and sectors likely to benefit. It is not part of the formal application or selection process. Noting interest at this stage does not preclude any party submitting a formal application in due course, nor will preference be given to any future bids based on whether or not a related note of interest has been submitted. In addition, none of the information submitted as part of this process will be taken into account in assessing any bid that might be submitted in the future.

Green ports DRAFT Applicant Prospectus for Scotland

In partnership with the UK Government, the Scottish Government intends to seek green port proposals from applicants, or multi-applicant partnerships, in due course – subject to agreement with the UK Government.

The green ports Applicant Prospectus for Scotland is at the DRAFT stage as it is subject to agreement with the UK Government.

This document primarily sets out the key elements that differ from the Freeports Bidding Prospectus for England. This includes the core policy objectives and expected outcomes of the green ports bidding process and the measures relating to devolved responsibilities, namely within the tax and planning spheres.  Text omitted from this document relates to information on matters reserved to, and/or subject to agreement with, the UK Government.

These include sections relating to:

  • the customs and tax sites
  • customs
  • reserved tax levers
  • innovation funding, collaboration hubs and regulatory innovation
  • preventing illicit activity;
  • governance structures
  • applicant selection
  • essential information required from applicants
  • detailed application information requested from applicants

Prospective applicants can refer to the Freeport Bidding Prospectus for England for details of those sections, with which the Scottish Government intends the green port process to align.

The final Applicant Prospectus for green ports in Scotland will be published in due course, subject to agreement with the UK Government.

If you have any questions, email: