The East Midlands has received a major economic boost after being named as one of eight new Freeports in England.
In his recent Budget speech, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak confirmed that the region had been successful in its bid to create an inland Freeport based around the East Midlands Airport and Gateway Industrial Cluster (EMAGIC) in North West Leicestershire, Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station, in Nottinghamshire and the East Midlands Intermodal Park, in South Derbyshire.
The successful, which is estimated will create 60,000 jobs and boost the local economy by £2 billion, was tabled by a consortium jointly led by the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, along with its equivalent in Leicester and Leicestershire.
Elizabeth Fagan CBE, chair of the D2N2 LEP, said: “I’m delighted with the news. The East Midlands Freeport will create thousands of jobs, accelerate the region’s commitment to decarbonisation and drive low carbon energy investments.
John Forkin, managing director of Marketing Derby, said: “This is brilliant news and really puts the East Midlands where we belong, right in the centre of the map.
“We believe it will become a magnet for international investment, both to the Freeport itself, but also to the wider area in the supply chain and associated activity. Marketing Derby will continue to work with partners to help deliver the vision for 60,000 new skilled jobs.”
Freeports are designed to attract major domestic and international investment.
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.
It will bring significant investment to develop and drive innovation, alternative energy sources and green technology supporting SME’s and large regional employers, including Rolls-Royce, Toyota, and Alstom (formerly Bombardier).
The consortium behind the bid included private sector businesses and local authorities, with support from universities, business groups and the proposed Midlands Engine Development Corporation.
Elizabeth Fagan, from D2N2, said: “Our bid was built on strong collaboration across business, local authorities and other sectors and will deliver a powerful and unique proposition not just for our region but for the whole of the UK. “
Councillor Chris Poulter, leader of Derby City Council, said: “Having a Freeport so close to Derby is a major boost to our future economic plans, bringing with it the potential for many thousands of jobs for the city and the region.
“Derby is a city of innovation, already home to world-class brands serving global markets. We look forward to working with the Government, the private sector and our local partners to leverage the full benefits of Freeport status.”
Leader of Derbyshire County Council Councillor Barry Lewis, said: “This is excellent news for Derbyshire — an East Midlands Freeport will make our county an even more attractive location for businesses to invest, thrive and survive.”
Scott Knowles, chief executive at East Midlands Chamber, said: “Our region already has fantastic national and international trading links – something highlighted during the pandemic – and Freeport status means we can cement our role at the centre of Britain’s post-Brexit global trading relationship.
“We are in a unique position as the only inland Freeport among the eight designated zones, which is testament to East Midlands Airport’s reputation as the country’s most important mover of international freight and the catalyst for the explosive growth we’ve witnessed in our region’s logistics sector in recent years.
“This free trade zone, which will have a focus on innovation, low carbon and trade, signals the direction of travel for the East Midlands economy – giving investors something tangible to back in order to deliver the inward investment and jobs that will enable growth.”
The consortium will now work with the government to develop the proposals into an Outline Business Case, providing further information on how the Freeport will be delivered.