Potential environmental impact of Green Freeports: EIR release

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.

Information requested

Part A

Following today's announcement that Inverness/Cromarty Firth and the Forth have been awarded 'green freeport' status, please provide copies of any reports that have studied the potential environmental impacts of either proposal.

Part B

If no such documents exist, please answer the following questions:

  1. Does either proposal involve expansion or development of port or other physical infrastructure, and if so, in what locations?
  2. Will any such expansion/development be subject to normal land-use planning requirements, including environmental impact assessment/Habitats Regulations appraisal?
  3. Does either proposal involve new or increased activities, and if so, which activities and in what locations?
  4. Will any such new or increased activities be subject to environmental impact assessment/Habitats Regulations appraisal?


Part A 

The Scottish Government does not hold any such reports. However it may be helpful to note that the Green Freeports Bidding Prospectus required bidders to set out how they will approach meeting all relevant environmental regulations and Scottish Government commitments, and noted that successful bidders are required to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) if required to do so before planned development can proceed. The Bidding Prospectus can be accessed here.

The selection of the successful bids was the first stage in the process. Officials from the Scottish Government and the UK Government will now work with the prospective Green Freeports to support them in development of their outline business case (OBC) and full business case (FBC). Both OBC and FBC will be assessed by both the Scottish and UK governments and release of Green Freeport incentives will be dependent on the business cases being approved.

Within the OBC Strategic Case the prospective green freeports will be required to address Environmental Impacts specifically they will be required to demonstrate how negative environmental impacts will be mitigated through compliance with applicable regulations pertaining to air and water quality, the management of waste, and the treatment and handling of chemicals, as well as any additional assessment and mitigation of impacts on protected sites and species. Within this they will be required to make clear what activity will be undertaken by the Green Freeport and what will be undertaken by site tenants/end users and outline any processes through which the Green Freeport may ensure compliance and how consideration of environmental impact will be reflected in the Green Freeport’s governance.

Business Cases will also be required to meet HM Treasury Green Book requirements for estimating the whole life carbon emissions impact of the proposal, monetising this according to BEIS (UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy) carbon factors (in £/tonne) and including this in the Economic Case of their business case. Through their business cases, the successful applicants will further be asked to demonstrate how resilience to future climate change has been considered, with reference to the latest supplementary guidance to the HM Treasury Green Book on ‘Accounting for the Effects of Climate Change’, as well as the Scottish Government’s ‘Delivering sustainable flood risk management’ guidance and ‘Guidance to support SEPA and the responsible authorities: Options appraisal for flood risk management’.

Part B:

  1. Yes, the purpose of Green Freeports is to stimulate activity and inward investment. The Firth of Forth Green Freeport proposal aims to attract up to £6 billion of investment and create 50,000 jobs. Its areas of focus will include renewables, advanced manufacturing, alternative fuels, carbon capture utilisation and storage, shipbuilding, logistics and the creative industries. The proposal includes ports at Grangemouth, Rosyth and Leith; Edinburgh Airport, and a site at Burntisland. The Inverness and Cromarty Firth proposal aims to deliver 5,000 new homes and create 25,000 jobs, while attracting £2.6 billion inward investment. Its areas of focus include offshore wind, green hydrogen and a new innovation cluster. The proposal includes sites at the Port of Inverness, Port of Cromarty Firth, Port of Nigg and Inverness Airport. More information on the successful bids, including locations, will be made available here in the coming weeks. As noted in response to Part A of your request, the successful bidders will now build on the proposals set out in their bids and produce detailed business cases to attract and enable infrastructure investment, and to unlock the incentives associated with Green Freeports.
  2. Yes, Green Freeports are subject to normal land-use planning requirements, including environmental impact assessment/Habitats Regulations appraisal as required.
  3. Yes, please see the answer to question 1, above.
  4. Yes, please see the answer to question 2, above.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

Back to top