News - 14 April 2022

Next phase in Freeport development promises more benefits for the East Midlands

Plans to create an innovative, inland freeport in the East Midlands have taken a big leap forward with the submission of a key document.

The ‘final business case’ (FBC), sent to the Government today (Thursday), keeps the East Midlands Freeport on track to become fully operational later this year and builds on an outline bid approved in February.

Government approval will unlock the complete range of benefits offered by the Freeport, adding to the special incentives already available to eligible businesses investing in the Freeport’s Tax Sites.

The blueprint sets out plans to make sure that the UK’s only inland Freeport is fully equipped to achieve its objectives, including promoting growth in advanced manufacturing and logistics, low carbon and renewable energy production and research and development, as well as supporting the Government’s Levelling Up, Net Zero, skills and innovation and trade and investment objectives. This will in turn enable the Freeport to create an estimated 61,000 new jobs and generate £8.9 billion for the economy over the next 30 years, playing a critical role in levelling up the region.

Building on the Freeport’s public and private sector partnership, it makes the case for £25 million of seed capital funding that will deliver new road infrastructure, cycle routes, land preparation works and a Hydrogen Skills Academy – subject to local planning processes.

The plans include new road infrastructure and cycle routes centred around delivering more sustainable connectivity across the Freeport’s three main locations at the East Midlands Airport and Gateway Industrial Cluster (‘EMAGIC’), East Midlands Intermodal Park (‘EMIP’) and the Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station Redevelopment Site.

The Hydrogen Skills Academy, backed by Loughborough, Nottingham and Derby universities, is expected to open in November 2023. It complements a series of innovative hydrogen projects being taken forward by the region’s Hydrogen Task Force and will be the UK’s first practical, industry-based training centre associated with the production, handling, storage and use of hydrogen, helping put the East Midlands at the forefront of the UK’s Net Zero transition.

Harnessing our region’s strengths

Penny Coates, Chair of the East Midlands Freeport Board, said: “The submission of the Full Business Case to Government demonstrates our continued progress in building the UK’s only inland and best-connected Freeport. The designation of our Tax Sites in March means the Freeport is already offering real benefits to attract new investment to the East Midlands.  Approval of the FBC will enable us to deliver even more benefits, both for businesses and communities across the region.

“The Hydrogen Skills Academy is just one example of how the Freeport is harnessing our region’s strengths to further increase our ability to secure new opportunities for the future, creating new jobs whilst supporting the advance towards Net Zero.

“This has all been made possible by the ongoing collaboration and hard work of our public and private sector partners, whose shared commitment will continue to ensure the Freeport delivers its full potential.”

The East Midlands Freeport is excited to continue its development over the coming months, and will continue to work with its core partners, as well as working closely with other strategic partners in the East Midlands and the wider Midlands. Whilst the FBC contains commercially sensitive, and so will remain confidential, we would encourage anyone with questions or interest in the Freeport to reach out through our website.

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