Up to 2,000 jobs and £1bn worth of future investment is expected to result from today’s (Tuesday 21 December) signing of the Heads of Terms agreement between UK Government, Scottish Government and Falkirk Council in the transformative 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 Scottish Government Economy Secretary Kate Forbes, UK Government Minister Iain Stewart and Leader of Falkirk Council, Cecil Meiklejohn.
As well as delivering significant 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.
With the long-term investment resulting in:
- the creation of centres of excellence in carbon capture and utilisation, biotechnology, public transport technology, canal maintenance and operations, skills and innovation
- strategic innovation sites for sustainable manufacturing and inward investment
- a Falkirk Central, multi-modal transport hub and green, active travel network
- a regionally significant arts centre
- a national outdoor art park
- a Just Transition plan for Grangemouth, assisting the town and its industrial cluster to achieve net zero
Funding will be spread across the 11 projects that make up the Investment Zone, with 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 skillset that will help local industry and their supply chains.
Investment in Creating Great Places includes:
- £21m for a Central Sustainable Transport Hub to be known as ‘Falkirk Central’ 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 HQ for Scottish Canals who will lead the project.
- £3m for Scotland’s National Outdoor Art Park with work along stretches of the Forth and Clyde canal.
Speaking about the agreement and what it means for the local area and the Scottish and UK economies as a whole, Scottish Government Economy Secretary Kate Forbes said:
“The Scottish Government’s £40million investment in the Falkirk Growth Deal and our £10million additional investment will enable inclusive and sustainable economic growth for the area, creating a fairer and greener economy.
“The 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.”
UK Government Minister Iain Stewart said: “Today’s landmark signing will deliver transformative investment in Falkirk and the surrounding areas, including £40million from the UK Government.
“The deal will create and protect jobs in the area through innovative projects such as supporting Grangemouth petrochemical complex’s transition away from fossil fuels with the creation of a centre of excellence in carbon capture as we move towards net zero.
“Skills and training will get a boost too with the creation of sites for sustainable manufacturing that will encourage further investment.
“The creation of an exciting new art centre will not only heighten the cultural offering for the local community, it will also aid tourism. Making public transport cleaner, greener and more accessible with a new transport hub will encourage visitors.
“This Deal is part of £1.7billion the UK Government is investing in levelling up communities right across Scotland.”
Councillor Cecil Meiklejohn, Leader of Falkirk Council said: “This investment by the UK and Scottish Governments will bring a massive economic boost to the local area and has the potential to create up to 2000 jobs and attract £1bn of private sector investment.
"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 will also bring benefit to businesses already based in the local area.
Charles Hammond OBE, Chief Executive of Forth Ports said: “Forth Ports welcomes the news today that the Heads of Terms for the Falkirk Growth Deal have been signed. Falkirk and Grangemouth are at the heart of Scotland’s industrial and logistics sectors and this funding will cement the plans for the Falkirk and Grangemouth Investment Zone.
"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.”
Catherine Topley, Chief Executive Officer at Scottish Canals, said: "Scottish Canals welcomes the announcement of the Falkirk Growth Deal, which acknowledges the importance of Scotland's canal network in Falkirk. This package of funding will create new and exciting opportunities for collaborative work to deliver transformational change for generations to come.
"The Kelpies and The Falkirk Wheel, two of Scotland's most dynamic and distinctive attractions, are located in Falkirk. This additional funding will enable the creation of a new and unique outdoor national art park along the Forth & Clyde Canal, encouraging more people to use our network by bike, boot, and boat.
“Additionally, the Falkirk Growth Deal will support the relocation of Scottish Canals headquarters to Lock 16 in Falkirk. Our new low-carbon canal centre of excellence will not only serve as our primary base of operations, but it will also open up new prospects for Falkirk by providing shared space for the community."