East Midlands Makes Green Growth Freeport Bid

Landmark opportunity to create thousands of jobs and boost the East Midlands economy

An East Midlands bid for Freeport status has been submitted to the government by a consortium led by the two Local Enterprise Partnerships that represent Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Leicester, and Leicestershire.

The bid would deliver a unique inland Freeport at the heart of the UK with unrivalled rail connectivity to all UK ports and bring significant investment to develop and drive innovation, alternative energy sources and green technologies, creating close to 60,000 new skilled jobs to the East Midlands.

In response to the Government’s Freeport prospectus, the East Midlands has put forward a compelling proposition based around the East Midlands Airport and Gateway Industrial Cluster (EMAGIC) in North West Leicestershire, Uniper’s Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station site in Rushcliffe in Nottinghamshire and the East Midlands Intermodal Park (EMIP) in South Derbyshire.

The sites’ central and strategic location will provide a range of employment and skills opportunities across the East Midlands and strengthen connectivity across the wider Midlands region to stimulate investment and develop and grow our industrial strengths in advanced manufacturing, automotive and logistics.

At the heart of the bid is the opportunity to accelerate the region’s commitment to decarbonisation and boost the area’s status as a leading innovation hub for green energy supporting SME’s and large regional employers including Rolls Royce, Toyota and Bombardier.
Freeports, championed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak, are designed to attract major domestic and international investment. In November last year, the government set out details of how it will create 10 new Freeports across the UK to create jobs and regenerate communities.

The government has confirmed that UK Freeports will benefit from:
• streamlined planning processes to aid brownfield redevelopment
• a package of tax reliefs to help drive jobs, growth and innovation
• simplified customs procedures and duty suspensions on goods

The East Midlands Freeport bid has been submitted by a consortium including private sector businesses and local authorities, with support from universities, business groups, local MP’s and the proposed Midlands Engine Development Corporation.

Elizabeth Fagan CBE, Chair of the D2N2 LEP said:
“The East Midlands Freeport is an integral part of the LEP’s ambition to transform our region’s social and economic future. Through strong collaboration and partnerships, we have assembled a compelling bid that will deliver key government policies, support evidence-based local plans, and drive private sector ambition.

“Freeport status will capitalise and grow our industrial strengths in advanced manufacturing, automotive and logistics and boost our competitiveness in new green opportunities to create thousands of jobs and provide SME businesses with a fantastic opportunity to develop and prosper.

“It is a project that can be delivered now, allowing us to build back better from the impacts of Covid-19, to level up the region and regenerate our communities to deliver significant economic green growth.”

Clare James, East Midlands Airport’s Managing Director, said:
“We’re delighted to be part of a regional Freeport bid that, if successful, could create thousands of jobs for local people. East Midlands Airport (EMA) is a key regional and national gateway for Britain’s exports and imports.

“Assets like EMA will have a key role to play in helping the Government fulfil its ambition of a ‘global Britain’ especially as the country strikes trade deals around the world. As the port of entry and exit, we bring to the Freeport bid, along with our road haulage and rail operating partners, the connectivity that is one of this region’s unique strengths.”

East Midlands Chamber Chief Executive Scott Knowles, said:
“The disruption the pandemic has brought has highlighted the importance of the East Midlands as a centre for trade in the UK. Our logistics sector has grown faster here than anywhere else in the country and the airport has played a central role in this as the country’s most important mover of international freight.

“The UK’s exit from the EU amplifies the opportunity for developing new international trade opportunities, to reimagine supply chains and to build greater resilience in existing customer and supplier relationships with the EU and beyond. For the East Midlands this presents us with a massive opportunity.

“We already have the expertise, land, much of the necessary infrastructure and, of course, businesses – but obtaining a freeport with a focus on innovation, low carbon and trade is central to us realising that opportunity to its full extent.”

Posted on 11 February 2021

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