Tay Cities Deal

News: Tay Cities Deal signing

The Tay Cities Region encompasses the local authority areas of Angus, Dundee City, Perth and Kinross and the North East area of Fife. The Region has a strong economic base and regional identity, with world class universities and many cutting-edge businesses. It is home to almost 500,000 people, around 10% of Scotland’s population, and over 15,000 businesses.

The Tay Cities Deal will drive the Region’s economy over the next 15 years and will bring together public, private and voluntary organisations to deliver a smarter and fairer Angus, Dundee, Perth & Kinross and North East Fife.

The Tay Cities Deal partnership has the following vision:

“Together, we’re striving to make the Tay Cities Region one of the most exciting, dynamic and desirable areas of Europe in which to live, work, invest and visit ...”

The partners are very clear that for the economy to thrive they must:

  • grow their base of knowledge-led businesses
  • create more, better-paid jobs
  • support more businesses to trade internationally
  • attract investment
  • attract and retain talented people
  • improve connectivity to, from and around the Region
  • increase economic participation
  • reduce inequalities

The Heads of Term Agreement, which was signed in November 2018, commits the UK and Scottish Governments to work collaboratively with the regional partners to deliver a Deal that will transform the regional economy.

The Scottish Government and the UK Government will each invest up to £150 million in the Deal over the next 10-15 years. This investment, which is subject to final approval of strong business cases for each project, has the potential to secure over 6,000 jobs and attract over £400 million in investment to the region over the next 10-15 years.

You can find out more by visiting the Tay Cities website.

The Mercury Programme

The Tay Cities Deal Heads of Terms identifies a £26.5 million capital investment fund for projects in Angus, the Angus Fund. Projects to be funded are being developed collaboratively with Angus Council and other local partners as part of the Deal, and are subject to UK Government approval.

The Angus Fund will be used to stimulate The Mercury Programme, which is Angus Council’s visionary £1 billion partnership programme between government, public, private and community sectors.

The purpose of the Mercury Programme is to:

“Increase productivity through clean growth, protecting places for future generations to live, work and visit”

Angus Council will achieve this by becoming a sustainable, low carbon region that is leading the development and implementation of innovative clean technologies to deliver increased economic growth, while at the same time significantly reducing our carbon footprint and contributing to national reductions in carbon use.

To achieve its purpose the Mercury Programme has identified three, very much interlinked, components of investment. These components have been used to focus the work being supported by the Angus Fund, and have projects under each:

1. Clean Growth

Proposed projects:

Drone R&D Centre of Excellence (Mercury Drone Port)

Partner(s) to date: Drone Technologies Limited

What’s happening?

The project aims to place Angus at the centre of the industry by developing a Centre of Excellence for drone technologies in Montrose. Planning is underway with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for a 6-month temporary airspace encompassing the vessel anchorages and extending out to the large windfarm developments which are under construction off the Angus coast.

Bringing a world class drone industry will attract business visitors and spend, creating an opportunity for Angus to play a leading role in the development of the drone industry which is primed to experience exponential growth over the next few years.

The 6-month temporary airspace trial will allow the opportunity to demonstrate safe operations and the demand for investment in these facilities. The long term ambition is to create a permanent airspace alongside associated land based facilities.

What will be at the site?

The Mercury Drone Port will be located on the Zero Four site in Montrose. This will initially be comprised of a dedicated air space trial area and associated temporary on shore facilities to support businesses. What will the drones be used for? Mercury Drone Port intends to establish a drone operation, initially for the low risk, offshore environment, including:

  • vessels at anchor (1-5km offshore)
  • offshore windfarms (30-80km offshore)
  • oil and gas platforms (100-200km offshore)

The drones are likely to be used for purposes including offshore inspection, deliveries and, in the future, to potentially carry passengers. During the 6 month temporary phase operations will be based offshore, however there is an ambition to turn this inland in the future to address the needs of other potential drone users such as the agri industry, logistics companies etc.

What about safety and privacy?

Like many other devices, drones need to be used responsibly and so are subject to specific rules relating to the way they are operated, which are underpinned by UK law. Angus Council’s project partner, Drone Technologies Ltd, will be holding online presentations to inform the local community about the project and discuss the use of drones and the associated safety and privacy implications. These presentations will also allow you the chance to raise any concerns you may have and have those answered. The online presentations are on Wednesday 19 August (10am and 7pm) and you can book by emailing tcd@angus.gov.uk

Clean growth business units at Zero Four Business Park

Partner(s) to date:

A90 to Montrose link road

Reopening of Montrose railhead

Partner(s) to date:

2. Low Carbon

Proposed projects:

Angus Rural Mobility Hub

Partner(s) to date:

Low carbon housing

Partner(s) to date:

3. Agri Tech

Proposed project:

Centre for Agricultural Sustainable Innovation (CASI)


  • Neutral Spirit Still
  • Crop Quality Centre
  • Innovation Farm
  • Precision Farming Facilities

Partner(s) to date:

Angus Council continues to seek new businesses and organisations to work with in the development of ideas and projects. If you think that you could contribute to the Mercury Programme please contact Mark Davidson by emailing to DavidsonMA@angus.gov.uk