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Inverness Airport flies flag for Opportunity Cromarty Firth green freeport bid

Inverness Airport
Inverness Airport and its Business Park join Opportunity Cromarty Firth green freeport bid.

Opportunity Cromarty Firth (OCF)’s bid for green freeport status has secured further backing with the addition of the Highland’s largest airport and Inverness Airport Business Park (IABP) to the consortium.

Inverness Airport and the business park join a growing list of consortium members which include the Port of Cromarty Firth, Global Energy Group, Highland Council, the University of the Highlands and Islands and Inverness Chamber of Commerce.

Green freeport decision expected this summer

The airport and the adjoining 275-acre business park are components of the bid being prepared to submit to the Scottish and UK governments with a decision on the two ports in Scotland to made possibly this summer.

Who are the runners and riders bidding to be a green freeport in Scotland?

Inverness is the largest of Highlands and Islands Airports Limited’s (HIAL) 11 airports.

In the year before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the airport’s annual passenger figures were approaching one million and it also serves as an air freight hub for the Highlands.

Inverness Airport
Inverness Airport is largest of HIAL’s 11-strong portfolio.

IABP is a joint-venture by Moray Estates, HIAL, Highland Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

It is a mixed-use commercial property development, which already has a range of tenants including a 130-bedroom hotel and offers space for more businesses,

“Like many others, we believe the award of green freeport status to the Cromarty Firth and Inverness area would bring a game-changing and long-term boost to the economies of the Highlands and Scotland as a whole,” said HIAL managing director Inglis Lyon.

“We are very pleased to have joined OCF and are working closely with fellow consortium members as the bid for this transformational opportunity is finalised.

Green freeport to create “thousands of new jobs”

“By stimulating further economic activity and attracting more inward investment that can create thousands of new jobs, a green freeport here will help shape the more prosperous and sustainable future this region needs and deserves.”

Speaking on behalf of OCF, Port of Cromarty Firth chief executive Bob Buskie added: “Inverness Airport and Inverness Airport Business Park coming on board with the OCF consortium adds vital components to the compelling bid we are preparing to secure green freeport status.

“The airport is the key UK and international transport hub for Inverness, the Cromarty Firth and the wider area and IABP offers the modern facilities, infrastructure and space needed by businesses looking to set up operations or expand here.”

OCF believes a green freeport centred on the Cromarty Firth and Inverness will maximise local, Scottish and UK-wide benefits from a pipeline of renewable energy projects and place the Highlands “at the heart of the drive” towards net-zero.

Port of Cromarty Firth.
Port of Cromarty Firth.

Last week, the consortium released initial findings of research by independent economic experts Biggar Economics indicating freeport status would spark an employment boom creating tens of thousands of new jobs in the Highlands, Scotland and the UK for a decade.

International offshore wind developers, Falck Renewables, BlueFloat Energy and Ørsted UK, have also voiced their support noting they were convinced it would “build a pipeline of jobs for the benefit of Scotland and the UK.”

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