THE SCOTTISH Greens have criticised their partners in government for pushing ahead with plans for two freeports. 

They dismissed the proposals as a "gimmick" which could do "significant damage to the environment."

On Friday morning the Prime Minister and the Deputy First Minister confirmed that the bids from Cromarty and Firth for the tax-free investment zones had been successful. 

READ MORE: Inverness and Forth green freeport bids approved by ministers

John Swinney insisted the two freeports would "make a significant contribution to achieving our net zero ambitions." 

However, the Scottish Greens were sceptical. 

The party's finance spokesperson, Ross Greer said: "There is nothing green about so-called green freeports.

"They are a failed and dated Tory gimmick which hands public cash over to multinational corporations. They offer big tax breaks to businesses while driving down terms and conditions for workers and risking significant damage to the environment."

Though there is fierce disagreement between the coalition partners, freeports were in the "excluded" section of the Bute House Agreement signed by the two parties.

READ MORE: EXPLAINER: What are green freeports?

"Under the deal struck for Scottish freeports there are no hard requirements for the companies to meet climate targets or implement fair work practices," Mr Greer said.

"Warm words don't protect people and the environment from greedy corporations, legal obligations do. In this case, there is plenty of the former and nowhere near enough of the latter."

The MSP said the freeports would only benefit "the super-rich and the big corporations who have pushed hardest for them."

Scottish Conservative Leader Douglas Ross disagreed. He said the local communities would see "huge benefits."

“I firmly believe that this will bring about significant job and investment opportunities for these areas, providing a welcome boost to the local economies," he added.

“People across Scotland want to see both of their governments working together to grow their communities and the confirmation of these two new freeport sites is a perfect example of that in action.”

Scottish Labour's net-zero spokesperson Colin Smyth said there were still some unanswered questions: “This announcement from the Tory government is simply a drop in the ocean when it comes to stimulating our economy

“We cannot base economic growth on the dilution of workers’ rights that the greenports projects risk. 

“We need to know how the ports that miss out on this scheme will be supported. 

“Now more than ever we need big ideas to strengthen our economy and deliver the jobs and prosperity we need."

Jamie Stone, the Lib Dem MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, said he was "delighted by the news."

"It means great local employment opportunities in the future. I am proud to have been closely involved in the campaign to have the Cromarty Firth designated a green freeport. It is something to tell my grandchildren.”

Unite's Scottish Secretary, Pat Rafferty, said it was unclear if trade unions would be able to "access and organise workers operating within the zones, and to bargain with employers over pay, terms and conditions.”

He added: "The potential creation of 75,000 jobs at face value appears to be a welcome development but at what cost will this come to workers, local businesses and other communities who could be displaced or badly hit.

"Instead of the so-called levelling-up mantra we could be levelling the ground and creating an employer free-for-all.”

Lawyer, Sheelagh Cooley, a real estate partner in the Edinburgh office of law firm Shoosmiths, said the two new green freeports were "an opportunity to drive forward new development, regeneration and economic growth."

“The potential impact of these projects, however, must not be limited to the immediate vicinity of the green freeports. Rather, true success hinges on the ability to also revitalise surrounding towns and cities, many of which are economically deprived," she added.