On 21 July 2020, the UK and Scottish Governments announced a Growth Deal package of £90 million towards delivery of the Falkirk-Grangemouth Investment Zone.
Along with our partners, we are now identifying the next steps to finalise the arrangements for delivery of the scheme and what measures will be taken in planning for the economic recovery post Coronavirus (COVID-19).
This announcement provides a welcome boost for the area and will play a key role in:
- creating economic vitality, supporting and energising industry and driving renewed investment
- investing in innovative technology that will transform industry in Grangemouth
- responding to climate change and work toward a greener, more sustainable future
- improving productivity through technology and skills
- promoting community well-being and benefit from the investment
- forming a cornerstone of post Coronavirus (COVID-19) economic recovery efforts locally and nationally
It is important to finalise the proposals for agreement in the coming months while also working to identify related sources of funding the delivery on the area's wider ambitions.
The Falkirk Economic Partnership has developed a package of proposals for an Investment Zone for the Falkirk and Grangemouth area. This aims to fulfil the economic potential of the area and manage its transition to a net zero economic future. The package is valued at £235m over a 15 year period.
A series of Investment Zone projects were detailed in a strategic business case submitted to UK and Scottish Governments last year.
The Investment Zone focuses on:
- Industrial innovation: particularly in industrial biotechnology, carbon capture and autobus innovation to enable the transition to more sustainable industries whilst preserving our manufacturing base.
- Infrastructure including roads, rail and ports projects to support industries such as construction, logistics, manufacturing, tourism and their supply chains.
- Place: to enhance our town centres and the tourism sector.
These projects are underpinned by measures to promote sustainable and inclusive growth, consistent with the area's economic strategy. Full details can be found in the Outline Business Case submission for the Investment Zone.
Whilst this pledge of £90m is a very significant sum and undoubtedly welcome at this time, the ambition of the Investment Zone package and the imperatives facing the area's economy to secure a 'just transition' post Coronavirus (COVID-19), goes beyond the capacity of this allocation.
The Falkirk-Grangemouth area contains prominent national economic assets and presents some significant challenges at this time, particularly in carbon reduction. It is therefore hoped to attract additional funding to the area to meet this national need. The Council and its partners will work to deliver on the growth deal announcement while continuing efforts to secure support beyond that which is already pledged.
In order to progress the Investment Zone proposition, further work is necessary to focus and prioritise the proposals for delivery. It is hoped that Heads of Terms for the proposals can be achieved by the end of 2020, with a finalised agreement being reached by mid 2021. A finalised agreement would permit drawdown of the £90m capital funds and commencement of works.
The proposals to be progressed will need further detailed assessment with final business cases for each project being produced. The underpinning arrangements to support sustainable and inclusive growth will also need to be elaborated. Connections with current activity taking place by the partners on these fronts will need to be evidenced and built upon and clear arrangements for project management and delivery defined.
The approach to finalising the package for delivery will take place through a process of engagement with partners, including consultation with business and community stakeholders. This will be undertaken over the course of the coming months and aligned with the development of economic recovery plans. A report on the approach to be taken and finalised content of the proposed submission will be presented to a future meeting of the Council's Executive.
Investment zone and economic recovery plan
The current Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation reinforces that the Investment Zone proposition is ever more pertinent to ensure an effective economic recovery. The area has witnessed significant impacts from Coronavirus (COVID-19) and there is a likelihood of significant job losses following the announcement of impending redundancies by local companies. A draft economic recovery plan has been prepared and consultation is taking place on this at the present time.
Given the significance of Grangemouth to the national economy, it is important that the Investment Zone plans are accelerated and delivered. The proposals align well with the ambitions of industrial partners in the area and these will help advance Scotland's net zero carbon ambitions, aiding the Scottish and UK Governments in their aspirations for a green recovery.
The Investment Zone package contains proposals for the introduction of carbon capture utilisation and storage, industrial decarbonisation and sustainable transport measures, all of which will play an important role in reducing the area's carbon emissions (at present we have the highest concentration of emissions in Scotland). The proposals will also help to address the plight of some industries brought about by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and engagement with these sectors is taking place to ensure that these needs are recognised.