The work of a consortium of Highland Council and private sector partners, which helped secure Green Freeport status for Highland, has been praised after securing the top award in its category at the recent Staff Recognition Awards.
Their work was instrumental in winning the bid for Green Freeport status and is potentially transformative for the region.
The Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport (formerly known as ‘Opportunity Cromarty Firth’) is a collaboration between private, public, and academic partners committed to making the Inner Moray Firth and Highland a major global hub for green energy.
The proposals not only aim to make a major contribution towards the national transition to net zero, but also help create high-quality, long-lasting employment in a green economy, regenerate and strengthen communities across the region, and reverse demographic challenges.
Chair of Highland Council’s Economy and Infrastructure Committee, Cllr Ken Gowans said:
“The overall aim of the Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport is to maximise opportunities arising from a multibillion pipeline of offshore wind manufacturing, a North of Scotland Hydrogen Programme; and a new applied research centre, dedicated to developing floating offshore wind and green hydrogen technologies.
“The award by UK and Scottish Governments recognises that Highland is uniquely placed to create a global hub for renewable energy and innovation.
“This in turn can lead to lasting economic and regeneration benefits and deliver on national outcomes, with the potential to unlock significant inward investment.”
“I am delighted that the Green Freeport team was recognised and won the top award in its category at the recent Highland Council Staff Recognition Awards.
“The award represents deserved recognition for the contribution made by Council officers to a dynamic and collaborative group of private and public partners whose work over three years culminated in the Prime Minister’s visit to Invergordon in January to announce that Inverness and the Cromarty Firth has secured Green Freeport status.”
The Green Freeport team includes: Highland Council staff Douglas Chisholm, Peter Alexander, Allan Maguire, Malcolm Macleod, Scott Dalgarno and Ruth Rountree Provan.
Cromarty Firth Port Authority’s Joanne Allday represented a much wider cross section of partners involved in the consortium.
The successful bid can potentially lead to meaningful and lasting economic and regeneration benefits across the North of Scotland and help Highland Council deliver on numerous national and local outcomes.
The road to securing Green Freeport status involved officers taking part in working groups that directly prepared the bid.
They also represented the Council in the wider Steering Group that oversaw the bid process, coordinating input from across the Council.
The successful bid has now led to partners working together to prepare a business case for the Green Freeport in Highland.
The Green Freeport will focus on delivery of:
- offshore wind manufacturing, backed by industry as the only suitable place in Scotland
- a North of Scotland Hydrogen Programme which seeks to establish one of the world’s largest hydrogen hubs in Highland to serve the region and across Scotland, the UK and Europe
- the Power House – a new applied research centre, dedicated to developing floating offshore wind and green hydrogen technologies.
The successful Green Freeport bid has the potential to unlock £100Ms funding over a 25 year period, and tens of thousands of direct and indirect new jobs.
It will make a major contribution towards meeting the local and national transition to net zero, building on the Climate Action Towns and Highland Adapts programme.
Officers have also helped undertake a range of stakeholder consultation and engagement which shaped the vision and plans of the Opportunity Cromarty Firth bid.
The review of the Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan and creation of a Regional Spatial Strategy also coincided with the formation of OCF which allowed for formal consultation on the plans and development of the key sites.
This has set the scene for Area Place Plans to be developed in these areas to consider what it might mean for communities now and in the future.
More information can be found on the Green Freeport Webpage
The Council’s Staff Recognitions Awards was sponsored by Story Contracting, Technology One, Wipro, E J Parker Technical Services, Sustrans and J. Thomson Printers.