The North East Scotland Green Freeport bid partners are in talks with Scotland’s most advanced spaceport to create a strategic partnership.
The discussions center on the pioneering SaxaVord Spaceport in Unst, Shetland, becoming a subzone of the NESGF should it be successful in its bid.
SaxaVord will host the UK’s first vertical rocket launches next year to deliver small satellites into orbit.
The ports at Aberdeen and Peterhead, along with Aberdeen Airport, will be key nodes in a complex international supply chain that will serve the spaceport and its fast-growing global client base.
The discussions between freeport and spaceport add a new dimension to the NESGF bid which is currently being jointly assessed by the Scottish and UK governments. The Green Freeport bidding prospectus allows applications to be made for exceptional additional customs and tax sites outside the outer boundary where it can be supported by a clear economic rationale.
“In addition to our plans for carbon capture and hydrogen production, as well as offshore wind, our desire to form a strong association with SaxaVord Spaceport means we will boldly be going where no freeport has gone before,” said Peterhead Port Authority chief executive Simon Brebner.
“The two ports and airport are clearly geographically central to the spaceport supply chain, and we believe that if our bid is successful we will be able to add significantly to our value proposition.
“There is a clear case to be made for SaxaVord Spaceport becoming a subzone of NESGF.”
Jon Matthews, group head of Capital and Planning at Aberdeen International Airport, said: “The North East Scotland Green Freeport bid is a real opportunity to establish our region as the Net Zero Capital of Europe. It will deliver a sustainable economic future for the region with 32,000 fair-work long-term jobs.
“The strength of our bid lies not only in our net zero and global export ambitions, but in the strong collaboration we have here, built on world class foundations.
“We are delighted SaxaVord Spaceport back the North East Scotland Green Freeport adding to our cross-party support from an array of stakeholders, private sector and academia. We can really harness the team-North East approach to deliver a prosperous new chapter in our industrial story, with far-reaching benefits.”
SaxaVord Spaceport CEO Frank Strang said: “As we prepare for launch, it makes absolute sense to align ourselves with the NESFG bid as the benefits for both Shetland and the North East are clear, and, dare I say it, out of this world. Our business will be of huge strategic and commercial significance to the UK and Scotland for decades to come, and any associated freeport status would be of considerable importance to our own plans and enhance the ability of the bid partners in the North East to support us. The clear ambition of NESGF to reposition the region as the Net Zero Capital of Europe aligns seamlessly with our aspiration to become a green energy exemplar. This is just one of the reasons we will be opening an office in Aberdeen shortly. As a further example of our commitment, our partners at Pure Energy in Unst have been at the forefront of the hydrogen revolution for the past 15 years.”