Former Highland airfield enables renewables businesses to soar in Green Freeport

Highland Deephaven

A FORMER base for the RAF and Royal Navy has found a new lease of life as a key site for development within one of Scotland’s industry-leading Green Freeports.

Highland Deephaven – located on the Cromarty Firth in the Scottish Highlands – began its life as a military airfield before becoming a strategic location within Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport.

With today’s confirmation of Special Tax Site status for the country’s northernmost Freeport including Highland Deephaven, its owners say the site is primed for development – giving renewables businesses entering the north of Scotland unrivalled opportunities for growth.

Mary Bowman, associate director at Highland Rural, which manages the site, said: “The east coast is home to the majority of Scotland’s offshore wind projects – a pipeline which puts the country in the top 10 of global offshore wind markets.

“With up to 42GW of offshore wind power capacity expected to be developed by 2035, renewables firms need a reliable, flexible and customisable space to be able to deliver on those targets.

“A large majority of our 468-acre site remains undeveloped, providing a unique prospect for businesses within the Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport zone – allowing them to enter the region and take advantage of tax benefits and centres of innovation, while creating the specific infrastructure they need to thrive.

“With a private causeway leading directly into the Cromarty Firth, and the potential for additional deepwater access, the site is ready for development by research, manufacturing and development firms looking to expand their operations in the renewables market.”

Originally known as Novar Airfield and then Evanton Airfield, the site opened as an airbase in 1922, working in conjunction with the naval fleet at Invergordon. In operation until the 1950s, the airfield saw many uses – including landing naval aircraft from nearby fleet vessels, training pilots and gunners for the Second World War, and aircraft storage and repair.

Officially closing in 1956 after being leased to the US Air Force for its final year, the site was purchased by Highland Resources, Inc. (then part of Brown & Root) in the 1960s during the UK’s first licensing round for oil and gas exploration in the North Sea.

Then envisioned to be a strategic location to facilitate construction of oil rigs, Highland Deephaven now has a renewed focus on the booming renewables sector.

Clark Davis, CEO of Highland Resources, Inc., commented: “When we reviewed all the assets in our portfolio, it became clear that there was huge potential for Highland Deephaven.

“We are very conscious that the history of Highland Deephaven runs deep in the area, and are passionate about bringing it once more to the forefront of the community.

“At one time the site provided a source of local employment, and we’re eager to see that return at Highland Deephaven with incoming businesses.”

Calum MacPherson, chief executive of Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport, added: “We are delighted that Highland Deephaven, an extensive site at an excellent location, is part of Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport.

“It is a site with massive potential and we look forward to working with Highland Deephaven, their partners and customers, to bring new jobs and fresh investment to the Highlands of Scotland.”

Highland Deephaven is a 468-acre industrial estate, open to all industrial and commercial use. Largely undeveloped, the site allows forward-thinking manufacturing, research and development firms the opportunity to create infrastructure fit for their needs, building from the ground up. 

With industrial zoning in place, industrial and commercial developments are approved in principle by the local authority – allowing incoming businesses quick access to a strategic location within the Inverness & Cromarty Firth Green Freeport Special Tax Site. Strategically located on the Cromarty Firth, Highland Deephaven enjoys direct access from the A9, a private causeway, and potential for expanded deepwater access.

For more information, visit or follow Highland Deephaven on LinkedIn.

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