THE new Forth Green Freeport can help to unlock the economic potential of the former Longannet Power Station site.

That's the hope of local councillor Graeme Downie, who wants Kincardine to benefit from the huge jobs boost that the special economic zone should bring to both sides of the river.

A consortium led by Forth Ports submitted a successful bid for the green freeport which doesn't include Longannet directly but does encompass an area including Rosyth, Burntisland, Leith, Grangemouth and Edinburgh Airport.

Inside the zone, tax incentives and lower tariffs will be offered to attract companies, with an estimated £6 billion of investment and the creation of 50,000 high-skilled green jobs on the way, and make it easier and cheaper to manufacture and move goods in and out of the country.

Cllr Downie, Labour councillor for the West Fife & Coastal Villages, says the spin-offs must come to his ward and said: “The Longannet site is of critical importance not only to Kincardine but right across Dunfermline and Fife.

“The size of the site, the legacy of the area and the skills that we have here mean it could be a driver and powerhouse for the regional economy for decades if properly and sensitively developed.”

He urged Fife Council to make sure areas like Kincardine could take advantage of the opportunities the green freeport will bring.

Cllr Downie said: “I want to ensure Fife Council recognise that importance and will work with the landowner, Scottish Power, along with partners like Forth Ports, Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Government to make sure Longannet is once again at the heart of the economy of central Scotland.”

Supported by the Scottish and UK governments, the green freeports will aim to regenerate their area, create high-quality green jobs and commit to meeting net zero targets by 2045.

At the Forth there is expected to be an employment boom in renewable energy, manufacturing, sustainable fuels, shipbuilding and construction.

Cllr Altany Craik, the council's spokesperson for finance, economy and strategic planning, said: "Forth Ports are aware of our aspirations and I can reassure Cllr Downie that we will be working with all the partners involved to unlock and accelerate the potential of Longannet as part of the boundary investments."

Scotland's last-remaining coal-fired power station, Longannet closed in 2016 with demolition and site clearance taking place in the years since then.

Not long after, it seemed like the area had hit the jackpot when Spanish train manufacturer Talgo announced proposals, in October 2018, to build a £40 million factory on the site and employ 1,000 people. Those plans have never come to fruition although last summer the company said they remain "committed" to the Longannet site.