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The Secretary of State for Scotland, the Rt Hon Alister Jack MP, has today (9 June) visited the region to see first-hand the progress made on the Teesside Freeport.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen hosted Mr Jack on his fact-finding mission to understand how development of the region’s Freeport – the UK’s biggest and first operational – can inform Scotland’s plans for its own “green Freeports”.
With just over a week to go before bidding closes on the competition for the two Scottish Green Freeports, Mr Jack was given a tour of the major clean energy projects and investments taking place within the Teesside Freeport.
There is already lots of action happening at the Freeport, with almost £3billion of investment being made across its sites across the region.
Major clean energy projects such as SeAH Wind’s £300million offshore wind facility and Net Zero Teesside Power’s gas-fired power plant with carbon capture, utilisation and storage capabilities are ramping up now, set to create thousands of jobs.
During his tour, the Scottish Secretary visited the £107million South Bank Quay, which is currently under development and when complete will support SeAH Wind’s monopile facility, the biggest of such in the world.
Mayor Houchen said: “It is an honour to welcome the Scottish Secretary onto our site and show him everything we’ve achieving with the Teesside Freeport and how far it has come in just a few short months since its launch. We’re pioneering the cleaner, healthier and safer industries of the future, with many of them coming to our area because of our Freeport status.
“Alister is just the latest minister we’ve welcomed to Teesworks and our Freeport. We’ve hosted everyone, from politicians such as Michael Gove MP, the Levelling Up Secretary, and Helen Whately MP, the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, to business bosses like bp’s CEO Bernard Looney and Barclays CEO C.S. Venkatakrishnan.
“This shows how our decisionmakers and job creators are sitting up, taking notice and recognising the massive scale and scope of what we’re working to achieve, and the success we’re seeing.
“Our Freeport is on course to supercharge Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool, creating thousands of good-quality, well-paid jobs and driving billions into the local economy.”
Secretary of State for Scotland, Alister Jack said: “Outside of the EU, the UK now has the freedom to do things differently - including setting up new freeports to turbo-charge trade.
“UK Freeports are a key part of the UK Government’s Levelling Up strategy – they will bring innovation, jobs, prosperity and regeneration. The Teesside Freeport has been a tremendous success from the get-go, attracting business and investment to the area.
“The Teesside Freeport, the first in the UK, is a fantastic example of what can be achieved. It has already secured multi-million-pound investment in renewables production, creating highly-skilled jobs and contributing to our future energy security.
“It is great news that we will shortly bring two Green Freeports to Scotland. There is a huge amount of interest from Scottish operators, and I look forward to a strong set of bids when the competition finishes.”
Leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, Cllr Mary Lanigan, said: “We’re honoured to welcome Alister Jack to our Freeport, and to be able to share the excellent practice and progress that is occurring there. An awful lot has been achieved in a relatively short period of time, and to be recognised as a national leader who can support other regions in like-minded objectives and goals is something to be proud of.
“This is about more than just developing new industry – it’s about working together to completely overhaul the way we operate; to enable a more positive future for our environment and climate. It’s about working together to bring prosperity to our respective regions with thousands of good jobs and a much-needed economic injection.”