MOST Rosyth locals The National spoke to for our exclusive series on Scotland’s green freeports didn't know they even existed.

It comes amid concerns that the Scottish and UK Government and the ports involved aren’t informing local communities enough about green freeports and their implications.

Forth Green Freeport was one of Scotland’s two winning bids in January last year through the scheme agreed by the Scottish and UK governments – spanning 45 kilometres wide in the Forth Estuary that encompasses Edinburgh, Falkirk, and Fife.

READ MORE: What are green freeports? Everything you need to know about the schemes

Rosyth is home to one of the scheme’s three proposed tax sites – where businesses are set to benefit from special tax incentives and lower tariffs around the local dockyard once the business case is approved. 

The stated aim is to stimulate economic growth in the area but there are also concerns the scheme amounts to a “Westminster power grab”, could block an independent Scotland from joining the EU as well as evidence that freeports lead to increased crime and are a threat to workers’ rights.

For our green freeports series, we went to Rosyth to speak with locals about the scheme that – if UK Government figures are to be believed – is set to bring tens of thousands of jobs to the area.

The problem? Of the dozens of people The National spoke to – only three had even heard of it.

“Nae clue,” a local nursing a pint told me at the pub in the town’s Gothenburg Hotel. Several others then shook their heads.

Helen Power (above), who works behind the bar, also told me she hadn’t heard of Forth green freeport.

“I think if it's happening here, we should know more about it,” she added.

Fiona – speaking just outside the pharmacy on the town’s main street – said there had been “nothing locally to tell us anything about it”.

“I've lived in this area for a long time, so there's certainly not much information coming our way,” she added.

Asked whether she believed the UK and Scottish governments as well as Forth Ports or Forth Green Freeport should be doing more to inform the local community, she responded: “Absolutely.

“The community needs to be involved in it, they’ve got their opinions and they’ve got to understand what’s going on,” Fiona (below) added.

The National:

“Otherwise, you’ll get resentment.”

Stephanie, another Rosyth local, told me the fact she doesn’t know anything about it – especially given the concerns some have – was “quite annoying”.

“We don’t know what’s going on in the town as it is. It’s just dying a death, it’s horrible.”

She added that she had heard something about 1000 new jobs in the nearby dockyard on the front page of a local newspaper.

“But where are the workers coming from? Is it going to help the local community? We don’t know. It’s just a dearth of information.”

The National:

Robin Clark (above) was one of few that had heard of the green freeport and added that he supported the scheme.

“We need more business, more jobs in the port,” he added.

Another local (below), meanwhile, knew it existed but said he didn’t know “very much” other than that.

The National:

“Because at the moment, a lot of things from the UK Government, a lot of wonderful words about things that never materialise."

He said he “didn’t know enough” to have any concerns but that it seemed like a “bribe to voters”.

Asked whether he felt it was a “Westminster power grab”, he responded: “Yes, if it materialises.”

The local added: “But Westminster these days say things, their levelling up for the North of England for example, which never seem to materialise.”

A Forth Green Freeport spokesperson said that, since being shortlisted for the scheme, they have communicated with stakeholders through "face-to-face briefings, the website, presentations, a newsletter, news media and a social media campaign".

They added: "At the heart of this have been strong governance and transparency, including the publication of board minutes on the website."

The National: Firth of Forth

The spokesperson added that the scheme has not yet officially been granted green freeport status as the outline business case is yet to be approved by both the UK and Scottish Government. 

“Once our business case has been approved, and the Green Freeport is effectively live, we look forward to engaging with local communities," they said.

"Together, we will focus on the creation of long-term, fulfilling employment opportunities for current and future generations. This will come as part of the evolution of existing businesses and new green industries and will be supported by a substantial local legacy fund, which will be available for communities, and £26 million of seed capital funding.

“The Forth Green Freeport is a long-term project, as evidenced by the announcement that the tax incentives for investors will now extend to 2034, and the benefits for local communities will flow through as investment is achieved.”