Investment News | 15 March 2022

East Midlands Freeport secures formal government go-ahead

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The region has received a major economic boost after securing formal approval for the East Midlands Freeport.

It means that from 22 March, eligible companies investing in designated areas within the freeport’s boundary will be able to access a range of benefits offered through the Government’s Freeport policy.

These areas, known as ‘tax sites’, cover the freeport’s three main locations at East Midlands Airport and Gateway Industrial Cluster (‘EMAGIC’), East Midlands Intermodal Park (‘EMIP’), in South Derbyshire, and the Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station Redevelopment Site.

According to those behind the bid, the East Midlands Freeport, which is the UK’s only inland freeport, will deliver over 61,000 jobs for the region and an extra £8.4 billion for the local economy over the next 30 years.

Special incentives will be offered to companies whose development plans support the freeport’s main objectives, including promoting growth in advanced manufacturing and logistics, and turbocharging the drive towards Net Zero.

It is hoped the freeport will attract and accelerate new high value, low carbon investment that could create thousands of skilled green jobs.

Penny Coates, chair of the East Midlands Freeport Board, said: “The Government’s approval for our tax sites means that the East Midlands Freeport now offers a total of 533 hectares of prime, strategic development land where companies can not only benefit from a fantastic location with fantastic global transport links.

“They can also benefit from a comprehensive package of special incentives that make our Freeport one of the best places to invest in the UK.”

Clare James, East Midlands Airport’s managing director and board member at the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “By building on the strengths of the region’s leading sectors including advanced manufacturing, logistics and R&D, the freeport is well-placed to drive future investment and economic growth, which will create new and diverse jobs for local people.”

Scott Knowles, chief executive of East Midlands Chamber, said the freeport would provide “a huge economic boost in the decades ahead”.

He said: “Following the end of all Covid-19 restrictions in February, this is another big boost for business confidence.

“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 10 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.

“We’ve already been notified about interest from companies both inside and outside our region that may want to locate themselves at the freeport in order to take advantage of tax breaks at sites including East Midlands Airport, so the green light should pave the way forward for more companies moving into our region.

“For our workforce, it will provide much-needed new opportunities for high-skilled, well-paid and more productive jobs – a key priority of this government and an important driver of growth for the East Midlands economy.”

A free webinar designed to provide an update on the freeport and more information regarding the benefits it offers for communities and businesses will take place on 22 March. To register e-mail

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