News - 24 February 2021

Support grows for East Midlands Freeport Bid

Nottingham City Council and Derby City Council are supporting the call for the creation of a freeport serving the region which could create up to 60,000 new jobs.

Freeports are designed to attract major domestic and international investment and have been used successfully used in countries around the world to drive prosperity and boost trade.

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

The bid centres on three main sites:

  • The East Midlands Airport Gateway and Industrial Cluster (EMAGIC), located around the UK’s largest freight airport at East Midlands Airport.
  • Uniper’s site at Ratcliffe on Soar, where the existing coal-fired power station will be decommissioned and replaced with a zero-carbon technology and energy hub.
  • The East Midlands Intermodal Park (EMIP), which will become a next-generation, rail-connected business park with links to the rest of the country and beyond.

If the bid is successful, the East Midlands Freeport would offer a range of employment and skills opportunities across the region and strengthen connectivity across to all parts of the UK, stimulating investment and developing regional strengths in advanced manufacturing, automotive and logistics.

Earlier this month, MPs from all parties across the East Midlands united behind the bid with a video which urges the Government to back the proposal.

Leader of Nottingham City Council, Councillor David Mellen said: “I am happy to support this Freeport bid. Providing jobs for the citizens of Nottingham is going to be key to recovery. We want to create more jobs within the city, but are aware that many Nottingham residents travel to workplaces in the region, including in the area around East Midlands airport. We need the public transport offer to these workplaces to be improved and investment from the government in our region which has been left behind in funding compared with other areas. The Freeport is an important part of the development needed.”

Leader of Derby City Council, Councillor Chris Poulter said:

“Derby is a leading strategic engineering, manufacturing and innovation city, and the most productive area in the UK with a specialism in manufacturing. We are home to world class brands including Rolls Royce, Alstom (formerly Bombardier Transportation) and Toyota, all leading, technologically driven businesses serving global markets.

Any proposals which enable the East Midlands, and the UK as a whole, to more effectively trade internationally are of course synergistic with our aspirations for the future of Derby’s economy.”

“We look forward to working with Government, the private sector and our local partners to leverage the full benefits of Freeport status.

Elizabeth Fagan, Chair D2N2 Chair added:

“I’m delighted with the support we have received from across the region but it’s important we keep momentum. Through strong collaboration and partnerships, we have assembled a compelling bid that will deliver a landmark opportunity to regenerate our communities, create thousands of jobs and green growth.”

The East Midlands Freeport bid is one of more than 30 ports and airports across the UK interested in becoming a Freeport, with all bids to be judged by an assessment panel in March, and decisions expected in spring. If the government backs the bid, it could create 60,000 new jobs and add over £2billion to the local economy.

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