5 Feb

East Midlands Makes Green Growth Freeport Bid

East Midlands Intermodal Park

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 today by a consortium led by the two Local Enterprise Partnerships that represent Leicester, Leicestershire, Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

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 areas of deprivation in 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 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 good

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

To view the media pack go to http://bit.ly/EastMidlandsFreeportMediaPack

Kevin Harris is Chair of the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership Ltd. Board of Directors. He said:

“Central Government support for the development of Freeports is a major opportunity for the East Midlands. The geographic location of our region, and the high levels of entrenched expertise in the fields of logistics and import/export found here, make the East Midlands an obvious choice for the location of a Freeport.

“Leicestershire is home to East Midlands Airport, which is already the largest dedicated freight airport in the UK. Its integration with the East Midlands Gateway logistics hub will ensure the smooth running of the Freeport from day one. Furthermore, it boasts the scope and ambition to expand, meaning that our Freeport capacity can continue to grow to meet the demands of increased investment.

“I’m proud that the LLEP is working in partnership with D2N2 to deliver a Freeport to the East Midlands. If the bid is successful, this project will be of huge benefit to our region, providing innovation, regeneration, and the ‘Skills for the Workforce’ that are a major priority of the LLEP. The benefits conveyed by an East Midlands Freeport will emanate from the heart of the country and mean that success for the East Midlands is shared by the wider UK economy for years to come.”

Clare James, East Midlands Airport’s Managing Director and LLEP Board Director, said:

“We’re delighted to part of 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.”

A spokesperson for Uniper, said: ‘Uniper sees a clear opportunity for the region by combining the Ratcliffe-on-Soar site with the EMAGIC and EMIP sites in an inland Freeport promising, manufacturing based growth connecting the East Midlands and UK businesses to global markets.”

Andrew Bridgen, Member of Parliament for North West Leicestershire, said:

“Freeport status would drive growth in the region’s economy, increase job opportunities, drive international trade and investment as well as improve infrastructure.’

“Leaving the EU creates new opportunities for the UK to strengthen the Union and become a hub for international trade and investment. Revitalising our port regions through an ambitious Freeport policy is a key component of realising this vision and unlocking the deep potential of regions such as the East Midlands. Freeports will increase trade, create employment and attract investment in order to form innovative business clusters that benefit local areas.

“We have the perfect logistical position for a Freeport with the Airport supported by the East Midlands Gateway and superb road links both North to South and East to West. The Airport is already a major trade hub, the UK’s busiest pure-freight airport, with more than 1,000 tonnes of cargo passing through every day and there is scope to at least treble that.”

Councillor Richard Blunt, Leader of North West Leicestershire District Council, said:

“A Freeport in the East Midlands is really exciting opportunity for North West Leicestershire and the wider region, with huge potential to support the economic recovery and growth of the area while maximising our collective potential.

“We are very happy to support the proposal in principle at this early stage. The district council would take a key role in determining future planning applications for development in North West Leicestershire so while supporting the principle, we keep an open mind and look forward to seeing the plans develop.”

Nick Rushton, leader of Leicestershire County Council, said:

“With our central location, expertise and ambition, the East Midlands is the right place for a freeport. This is an innovative bid. And not only would it create thousands of jobs and provide a boost for our economy, it would help to put the region on the map. Our economy has taken a big hit during the pandemic and creating this forward-thinking scheme at the heart of the UK would provide a much-needed boost for our businesses and residents.”