Up to 2,000 jobs and £1bn worth of future investment is expected to result from today’s signing of the Heads of Terms agreement between UK Government, Scottish Government and Falkirk Council in the Falkirk Growth Deal.
The agreement means 11 projects can now use a total of £80m investment from UK and Scottish Governments, £45m from Falkirk Council, and £5.8m from Scottish Canals, to create an Investment Zone for Falkirk and Grangemouth.
The deal will be signed by Economy Secretary Kate Forbes, UK Government Minister Iain Stewart and Leader of Falkirk Council Cecil Meiklejohn.
As well as delivering new assets for the area, the agreement will help Grangemouth’s petrochemical complex – which currently produces 10% of Scotland’s carbon emissions – transition to net zero.
Long-term investment in the area should result in the creation of centres of excellence in carbon capture and utilisation, biotechnology, public transport technology, canal maintenance and operations, skills and innovation.
There are also plans for a Falkirk Central, multi-modal transport hub and green, active travel network, along with an arts centre and national outdoor art park.
Funded projects sitting under two broad themes – Innovative Industry and Creating Great Places.
Investment in Innovative Industry includes:
- £10m for a Carbon Dioxide Utilisation Centre that will capture CO2 to manufacture more sustainable products and aid the transition to net zero.
- £10m for a Bioeconomy Accelerator Pilot Plant to develop new sustainable processes using feedstocks such as food processing and whisky by-products.
- £4m for an Innovation Skills Transition Centre that will be led by Forth Valley College delivering a programme for local school and college students gaining the right skill-set that will help local industry and their supply chains.
Investment in Creating Great Places includes:
- £21m for a Central Sustainable Transport Hub at the current Falkirk Grahamston Station and an associated ‘Green Corridor’ that will connect local communities.
- £4m for Scotland’s Canal Centre that will bring a derelict site into use offering opportunities for employment, training and recreation as well as a relocated headquarters for Scottish Canals, which will lead the project.
- £3m for Scotland’s National Outdoor Art Park, with work along stretches of the Forth and Clyde canal.
Forbes said: “This deal will help regenerate town centres, create new cultural attractions, transform local transport, reskill the workforce and help decarbonise industry.
“Our investment will ensure communities from across Falkirk and the surrounding area benefit from opportunities created and highlights our commitment to invest in our places and people.”
Meiklejohn said: “A lot of hard work has gone into securing this deal, which will help us deliver on our Council priorities and our Council of the Future transformation programme.”
The agreement should also bring benefit to businesses already based in the local area.
Charles Hammond, chief executive of Forth Ports, added: “There are huge opportunities for industry and the council to work together to deliver economic growth whilst addressing the need to reduce the areas carbon footprint, improve skills and ensure that the local area fully benefits from this funding and economic growth.”
Don’t miss the latest headlines with our twice-daily newsletter – sign up here for free.