Tay Cities Deal

News: Tay Cities Deal signing

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

As identified in the Heads of Terms, 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

Under the deal, business, higher and further education, local government and the Third Sector will work closely together to create growth more quickly and sustainably using the significant public investment to bring greater prosperity and equality.

The Full Deal was signed on 17 December 2020. Click on the link to find out more about what the Deal means for the Region.

“The Deal will further energise activity to deliver improved outcomes for the region’s people, places, businesses, and communities.”

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 to 15 years.

The Tay Cities Deal will enable the region to:

  • Empower and promote inclusion - by ensuring that local people have the skills they need to succeed in the modern workplace and that growth is inclusive;
  • Innovate and internationalise - by developing globally recognised clusters of academic and business excellence; and
  • Connect - by improving physical and digital infrastructure.

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

The Mercury Programme

The Tay Cities Deal 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, 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, with projects being developed under each component as follows:

1. Clean Growth

Proposed projects:

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

Partner(s) to date: DTLX Ltd

What’s happening?

The project aims to place Angus at the centre of the drone industry by developing a Centre of Excellence for drone technologies in Montrose.

Comprising of both airspace and supporting facilities, Mercury Drone Ports will create a safe and easily accessible airspace structure that will enable both drone trials and commercial drone operations to take place.

Drone Port Montrose will be Scotland’s first drone port, and the UK’s first regional-scale trial airspace area. The drone port will initially function as a drone trials area, but it is anticipated that as technology, trials and regulation develop Drone Port Montrose will evolve to become the base for the UK’s first commercially viable Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone operations. A network of drone ports across Angus will complete the vision for Mercury Drone Ports.

Bringing a world class drone industry to Angus 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.

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. 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 Drone Port Montrose will be located on the ZeroFour 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?

Drone Port Montrose 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) - this includes all of the new emerging technologies and offshoots from the offshore wind sector
  • 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.

As part of the air space change application, public engagement has been conducted, and will continue to be conducted on an ongoing basis. The next stage in the development of the project is a BVLOS Demonstration Project. Public engagement will be a key workstream within this project and will be enhanced by both specialist company involvement and academic research support.

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)


  • Environmentally Sustainable Neutral Spirit Still
  • Crop Quality Centre
  • Innovation Farm
  • Agri Tech Development Centre

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