By a Newsnet reporter
The Scottish Government Finance Secretary John Swinney has unveiled a raft of measures to encourage investment in key economic areas of the country which Mr Swinney says can help create the most competitive environment for business in the UK.
The measures announced on Tuesday include fast-track planning approval for companies and up to 100% rates relief, potentially worth up to £275,000 per company over a five year period, in four new enterprise areas: one for life sciences, two areas for low carbon and renewables, and a fourth area for general manufacturing. The four sectors are spread over 14 sites, which stretch from Ayrshire to Orkney.
The new incentives being offered to promote business also include high speed broadband, international marketing assistance, and training support.
The Scottish Government worked closely with Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to develop the incentive scheme, which Mr Swinney announced during a visit to the Port of Dundee.
The port is one of the two low carbon and renewables enterprise areas, the other being located in the North and West, with sites in Orkney, the Western Isles, Nigg and Scrabster.
The third enterprise area focuses on life sciences, with sites in Irvine, Moray, Highland, Edinburgh and Midlothian.
The fourth area, which aims to boost general manufacturing in Scotland, will centre on the Creative Clyde waterfront area of Glasgow and Prestwick International airport.
Mr Swinney said: “The Scottish government and our enterprise agencies are working hard to retain Scotland’s position as the most competitive environment for business in the UK.
“We are doing all we can to support jobs and secure new investment in our communities, and enterprise areas are another means to help us achieve this.”
Mr Swinney added: “The Scottish Government has worked closely with our enterprise agencies to select these sites, which are strategic locations for some of our key growth sectors.
“Our Enterprise Areas are now open for business and Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise will work closely with local authorities and the business community to maximise the economic potential of each site.”
Charles Hammond, Chief Executive of Forth Ports, owner of the Port of Dundee, said:
“The creation of the Low Carbon/Renewables East Enterprise Area is excellent news for inward investment and jobs in Dundee as we set about establishing the city as a renewables hub centred around the Port of Dundee.
“The location of the port, with its deep water capability and land availability, makes it attractive to the offshore renewables manufacturing industry and we continue to progress a number of strong enquiries from companies keen to locate at the port. This is a great example of the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, Dundee City Council and the private sector working closely together to bring these important opportunities to Dundee.”
The four Enterprise Areas are:
1. Life Sciences Enterprise Area
Irvine (N Ayrshire) – covers three co-located sites and a total area of 132 hectares; i3 Irvine Innovation and Industry Park (formerly Riverside Business Park). This site is a strategic 200 acre fully serviced, single user inward investment site – the largest in the North of the UK. Annickbank. This site has full site infrastructure in place for an office park development of 9,000 m2 Expansion land at GSK Irvine.
Forres (Moray) – This 9.3 hectare site offers a strong opportunity to build on the cluster of expertise in the P4 Digital Healthcare sector which has developed along the Inverness-Elgin corridor, the sector having expanded from 50 to 80 active businesses between 2009 and 2011.
Inverness Campus (Highland) – a 5.5 hectare site which is part of a larger site housing the University of the Highlands & Islands, the Centre for Health Science and the Scottish Agricultural College, the site will provide opportunities in research and development as well as in the provision of incubation units.
BioQuarter (Edinburgh) – a flagship life sciences site in Scotland which offers manufacturing as well as research and development opportunities at the 40 hectare site. It is also located adjacent to Parc Craigmillar URC and will reinforce the wider regeneration efforts for that section of Edinburgh.
Biocampus (Midlothian) – a 11 hectare site which is unique in that it supports possibilities for large scale biomanufacturing activity and will complement the activity undertaken at Edinburgh BioQuarter. The site also presents opportunities to diversify the local economy into high value adding sectors and away from the reliance in recent years on mining and other primary industries.
2. Low Carbon / Renewables North Enterprise Area
Hatston (Orkney) – a 11 hectare marine site identified in the National Renewables Infrastructure Plan (N-RIP). Construction of six workshop units is underway and there are potential agglomeration benefits when considered together with Lyness and Scrabster.
Arnish (Western Isles) – sited in Lewis this is the only industrial site of scale (43.9 hectares) in the Outer Hebrides. It offers short-term opportunities in off-shore wind generation and medium to long term opportunities in wave generation and was identified in N-RIP as an integrated manufacturing site.
Nigg (Highland) – this site, identified as a strategic location for integrated manufacturing in N-RIP, has recently been purchased by Global Energy Group who intend to develop the site as a service hub for the energy industry. The Enterprise Area site is 66 hectares.
Scrabster (Highland) – identified as a priority site in the Northern Marine cluster by the N-RIP this 17 hectare site is ideally situated on the Pentland Firth to take advantage of wave and tidal opportunities. There are potential agglomeration benefits when considered in combination with Hatston and Lyness. The site aims to support marine energy projects planned for the South of Orkney and in the Pentland Firth.
Lyness (Orkney) – a key N-RIP marine site which is currently being developed to support the assembly, storage and servicing of marine energy devices, this 14 hectare site offers agglomeration benefits when considered along with Hatston and Scrabster. The site is a deep harbour facility located within Scapa Flow, which is a perfect location for the wet storage of marine devices and can be used to assemble, test, fix and repair marine energy devices.
3. Low Carbon / Renewables East Enterprise Area
Dundee Port (Dundee) – a key renewables site identified within N-RIP there is currently strong demand from manufacturing companies in the site. The Enterprise Area site is 67.0 hectares in total, split between waterfront land at the port and an industrial site two miles inland at Claverhouse East.
Port of Leith (Edinburgh) – providing uninterrupted access to the Forth estuary and North Sea, this is a key N-RIP site which offers significant opportunities to develop an offshore wind sector supply chain, especially as the 60 hectare site is the largest potential development area across all Scottish east coast ports.
4. General Manufacturing and Growth Sectors Enterprise Area
Creative Clyde (Glasgow) – a 14.5 hectare site based at Pacific Quay offering opportunities for creative industries. This will build on the success of the Digital Media Quarter which in the last 10 years has attracted Headquarter functions for Scottish Television and BBC Scotland among others to Pacific Quay.
Prestwick International (South Ayrshire) – the vast majority of the Scottish aerospace industry, including the high value-adding space manufacturing sector, is based in the west of Scotland with Prestwick accommodating 12 companies in the sector. The site is 29.1 hectares.