Plans for the UK’s only inland freeport have taken a major step forward after an outline business case was submitted to the Government.
The document is part of the process that Government has designed to make all of the planned freeports in England operational as soon as possible and builds on the success of the initial East Midlands Freeport bid from a consortium led by Local Enterprise Partnerships representing Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Leicester, and Leicestershire earlier this year.
The consortium included private sector businesses and local authorities, with support from universities, business groups, local MPs and the proposed East Midlands Development Corporation.
Technical information contained in the outline business case includes analysis that demonstrates how the freeport will contribute around £8.4 billion to the East Midlands economy over the next 30 years alongside its potential to support and create around 55,000 jobs.
The blueprint centres on the East Midlands Freeport’s unique strengths as the UK’s best-connected freeport, located at the heart of the nation’s advanced manufacturing and logistics economy, with plans to boost skills and accelerate the region’s commitment to cutting carbon emissions.
The next stage of the development process will see further plans submitted in December with the ambition to make the freeport fully open for business by March next year.
Penny Coates, Independent Chair of the East Midlands Freeport Board, said: “I’d like to thank all our partners for the huge amount of hard work they have undertaken to get to this stage.
“The close collaboration between the public and private sector right across the region demonstrates the strength of our shared ambition, and it has been great to see the Government’s support for our work throughout.
“There is still much work to do but we’re ready to continue to work together and alongside Government to deliver the exciting potential that the freeport offers for our region.
“The freeport creates a huge opportunity for the region to level up some of our most deprived areas, as well as to create much needed jobs, increase further education and skills, and to encourage business innovation and relocation into the UK.
“Being the only inland freeport, with its central location and excellent rail, road and air links, it also creates fantastic global connections for all other UK freeport sites.
“The freeport has net zero, innovation and skills at its core. The idea that we can create a freeport that unites education, innovation and skilled jobs, creates new opportunities and attracts and retains talent within the region is hugely exciting.”
The outline business case contains commercially sensitive information so remains confidential.