Plans to create an innovative, inland freeport in the East Midlands have taken a big leap forward with the submission of a key document.
The ‘final business case’ (FBC), sent to the Government, keeps the East Midlands Freeport on track to become fully operational later this year and builds on an outline bid approved in February.
Government approval will unlock the complete range of benefits offered by the Freeport, adding to the special incentives already available to eligible businesses investing in the Freeport’s Tax Sites.
The blueprint sets out plans to make sure that the UK’s only inland Freeport is fully equipped to achieve its objectives, including promoting growth in advanced manufacturing and logistics, low carbon and renewable energy production and research and development, as well as supporting the Government’s Levelling Up, Net Zero, skills and innovation and trade and investment objectives.
This will in turn enable the Freeport to create an estimated 61,000 new jobs and generate £8.9 billion for the economy over the next 30 years, playing a critical role in levelling up the region.
Building on the Freeport’s public and private sector partnership, it makes the case for £25 million of seed capital funding that will deliver new road infrastructure, cycle routes, land preparation works and a Hydrogen Skills Academy – subject to local planning processes.
The plans include new road infrastructure and cycle routes centred around delivering more sustainable connectivity across the Freeport’s three main locations at the East Midlands Airport and Gateway Industrial Cluster (‘EMAGIC’), East Midlands Intermodal Park (‘EMIP’) and the Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station Redevelopment Site.
The Hydrogen Skills Academy, backed by Loughborough, Nottingham and Derby universities, is expected to open in November 2023. It will be the UK’s first practical, industry-based training centre associated with the production, handling, storage and use of hydrogen, helping put the East Midlands at the forefront of the UK’s Net Zero transition.
Leader of Rushcliffe Borough Council Cllr Simon Robinson said: “The Freeport, with its three main sites, is forecast to deliver tens of thousands of these new jobs, many of which will be in Rushcliffe at the Ratcliffe on Soar site.
“It should deliver this world leading manufacturing in green technologies along with the research and education facilities, encouraging business innovation. With its central location and excellent rail, road and air links, it is also set to create fantastic global connections.”