SEVERAL of Scotland’s highest-profile businesspeople and academics have signed an open letter to the UK and Scottish governments, urging that the west of Scotland be chosen as a Green Freeport.
Entrepreneur, Sir Tom Hunter, is joined by the likes of Prof Sir Jim McDonald, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Strathclyde, in calling for Clyde Green Freeport to be chosen as among two Green Freeport’s set for Scotland – with five bids believed to be already in.
The open letter begins: “From the continuing legacy of marine engineering to becoming Europe’s leading manufacturer of space satellites, the west of Scotland is a manufacturing and trading powerhouse. Our region has the scale, infrastructure and skilled workforce to make an even greater contribution to the country’s economic, manufacturing, net zero and exporting ambitions.
It continues: “Clyde Green Freeport is a key component to delivering on those ambitions, generating up to 45,000 new jobs, injecting £18 billion into the economy and transforming around 600 hectares of vacant, derelict, and underused land.
“The public, private and academic collaborations that form the basis of the bid are firmly established and have placed us at the leading edge of innovation in a range of fields including advanced manufacturing and life sciences.
“With a third of the country’s population and business base, Glasgow is also Scotland’s only metropolitan city region and, while that magnitude and diversity brings many opportunities, it means that issues such as deprivation and carbon emissions are experienced to a much greater degree here than anywhere else in the country.
“‘Team Glasgow’ has a proven track record for delivery, one that has endowed the region and this bid with the tools and the capacity to tackle these challenges.
“Clyde Green Freeport is located in or close to some of Scotland’s most deprived neighbourhoods and calls upon all of that experience to ensure that the benefits of Green Freeports are felt by those most in need, that progress is achieved in levelling up the economy and that emissions from one of the most carbon intensive regions can be reduced.
“Put simply, the growth, levelling up and net-zero objectives of the Green Freeport programme will not be met if the west of Scotland is left out.
“We therefore call upon the UK and Scottish governments to designate the Clyde Green Freeport to ensure that the much-needed benefits of this compelling bid can be realised as quickly as possible.”
The signatories to the open letter are:
Derek Provan, chief executive officer, AGS Airports
Prof Sir Jim McDonald, Principal and Vice- Chancellor, University of Strathclyde
Stuart Patrick CBE, chief executive officer, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce
Sir Tom Hunter, philanthropist and serial entrepreneur
David Stirling, managing director, Peter D Stirling
Claudio Veritiero, chief executive officer, Peel Ports Group
Prof Sir Anton Muscatelli, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, University of Glasgow
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