Freeport looks to accelerate growth with investor talks

Freeport looks to accelerate growth with investor talks Chief executive Tom Newman-Taylor (image credit: East Midlands Freeport)

East Midlands Freeport is talking to a number of potential national and international investors as it looks to accelerate plans to unlock the potential for tens of thousands of new jobs. Launched last year, the Freeport has set up three 'tax sites' where there are lower tax rates aimed at speeding up business investment, job creation and economic growth. The three sites cover about 1,300 acres of land.

These include:

  • East Midlands Airport Gateway & Industrial Cluster: This is alongside the UK's largest dedicated express airfreight airport and the rail freight-connected East Midlands Gateway logistics park.
  • East Midlands Intermodal Park: Located next to the Toyota manufacturing plant just outside Derby.
  • Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station site: Owner Uniper has a vision to transform the site of the former coal-fired power station into a destination for zero carbon technology and energy.

The Freeport is looking to secure investment from global investors active in sectors where the East Midlands has established strengths, such as automotive, aerospace, advanced logistics and clean energy. While it is the second year of a 25-year programme, it has confirmed that advanced talks are taking place with potential investors at two of the three sites. Chief executive Tom Newman-Taylor said: "With our partners, we've set ourselves four clear priorities for the year ahead - to get our organisation match-fit for success, build trust with everyone we work with, attract sustainable investment and help our region meet its long-term challenges.

"There is already significant interest to invest and expand at the Freeport's three sites and I'm confident that we will be able to make an investment announcement by the end of the year." Over a 30-year period the freeport expects to add GBP9bn to the East Midlands economy and create tens of thousands of jobs while retaining GBP1bn of business rates to be spent locally. Newman-Taylor added: "As a Freeport, we're able to offer businesses that meet our criteria some significant incentives that will help them set up faster and accelerate their growth and that of the regional economy.

"Our strategy is to seek investment that adds value to the East Midlands. We're looking for businesses who are a good fit with our sites and the regional economy, which has major strengths in sectors like automotive, aerospace, advanced logistics and clean energy. "Alongside this, we're developing plans to ensure local people have skills that meet the needs of our industries into the future, and we will be placing an increasing emphasis on growth that's sustainable - with direct investment in research that will help our sites and our businesses reduce their environmental impact as they grow."

Last year, East Midlands Freeport unveiled plans for a multimillion-pound zero carbon innovation centre, which aims to transform green research into commercial products. The innovation centre will be brought forward by the University of Nottingham and Loughborough University, which will be matching the East Midlands Freeport's investment. Professor Chris Gerada, lead for strategic research and innovation initiatives at the University of Nottingham, said: "Through the Freeport's GBP5.8m investment, our two universities can accelerate the development of zero carbon technologies, attracting global industries and bringing regional economic prosperity.

"Our open-access innovation centre will help power future transport, harnessing the region's strengths to create globally competitive industrial solutions in electrification, hydrogen propulsion and advanced manufacturing."



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