Proposing a South West Euro Gateway at Cairnryan

Members of Economy and Resources Committee (E&R) (1 Sept) will receive an update on the Economic / Cluster Zone for the SouthWest Euro Gateway.

The ports of Cairnryan are of significant strategic importance to both Scotland and Great Britain as the largest roll on roll off freight volume in Scotland and the 6th largest in the United Kingdom. The Irish Trade Corridor and the proximity to the EU Customs zone are the ports unique selling point. The unique selling points of the Cairnryan ports led to the creation of the initial bid name of “SouthWest Euro Gateway”

It was previously agreed at E&R in June to write to Scottish Government (SG), to advise that the Council and partners would not be submitting a bid but wished to consider future opportunities for the west of the region such as Economic Zone or similar status. A response was received from the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy, agreeing to open dialogue between the Council and SG on potential development opportunities.
The benefits and support for the development of Economic / Cluster zones have yet to be established, however through the development of a Green Freeport bid the South West Euro Gateway identified a number economic levers which would benefit establishing the Green and Renewables sector in the West of the region, including tax and other financial incentives.

Both the UK and Scottish Government have operated Enterprise Areas. The current benefits within Enterprise Areas are:
• Non-Domestic Rates Relief (NDRR)
• Enhanced Capital Allowances (ECA)
• Streamlined Planning Process
• Skills and training support provided by Skills Development Scotland

D&G Council believes that the South of Scotland has been neglected when considering previous Enterprise Areas, and there are currently none in the region, although there are 18 across Scotland as a whole.

The next steps will be to meet with SG representatives with the aim of identifying and working with partners involved in the South West Euro Gateway to develop a business case for a Cluster development in the West of region. This would include establishing the benefits and incentives that would be on offer to support the region attracting businesses and investment into a Cluster zone.

Chair of Economy and Resources Committee, Katie Hagmann said: “Despite the Council withdrawing from the original Green Freeport bid at Cairnryan earlier in the year, due to the actions of P&O Ferries, we are still committed to doing all that we can to help the area and local families and workers. We recognise that the ports and area around Cairnryan still have huge untapped resources, and we will pursue all avenues open to us to utilise that potential and promote the unique selling points of the surrounding area.
Vice Chair Sean Marshall said: “The Council sees an Economic / Cluster zone in the vicinity of Cairnryan and Stranraer as vital to the future economic prosperity of that area. We are committed to promoting regeneration and job creation through inclusive and sustainable growth, with the ports providing an established hub for global trade and investment. There are fantastic opportunities here, leading on to the wider benefits of the region as a whole.”

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