The announcement by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak that one of Scotland’s Green Freeports is going to be based in the Highlands is a hugely significant political and economic victory for the region.
Standing beside the Cromarty Firth, the Prime Minister outlined the many benefits of the new status, heralding new industries that are poised to transform the Highland economy and help the country accelerate the shift to net zero and a clean energy economy.
I am delighted that, for the last three years, Morrison Media has led the PR and public affairs campaign for a Highland Green Freeport.
It has been one of the most intense and complex pieces of work that myself and our highly experienced team have been involved with, but knowing the size of the prize was a massive motivation.
From the outset we recognised that we were up against very stiff competition – but we knew that while all the others ticked many of the required boxes, the Cromarty Firth ticked them all.
We were also aware that of all the applicants vying for the status, the Highlands had the strongest case for ‘levelling up’.
We told this story at Westminster and Holyrood, worked with the dozens of partners who joined Opportunity Cromarty Firth and maintained a steady stream of positive stories for many months: millions of pounds of investment, thousands of new jobs, and the reversal of the Highland brain drain.
The positive stories will continue as the investment begins to flow and the high-quality jobs start to appear.
I hope many glasses were raised across the Highlands over the weekend to toast success before the hard work starts again. Slàinte.
John Morrison is Managing Director of Morrison Media, whose client Port of Cromarty Firth was one of the founding members of Opportunity Cromarty Firth, the organisation behind the successful bid for a Highland Green Freeport