Posted by Colin Weston at 09/11/2021 10:48:40
The Humber Freeport has been given the all-clear to launch.
Together with Teesside and Thames models, the first tax sites can start to operate from next month, the Chancellor has confirmed.
One of eight confirmed in the Spring Budget, the go-ahead was documented in the Treasury’s Budget Report, the 'red book' laid before the House of Commons when Rishi Sunak got to his feet on Wednesday. A further £230 million for the country's continued push on offshore wind was also included.
Humber was recognised as the leading bid, submitted with Associated British Ports heading it.
Port director, Simon Bird, chairs the steering company. He said: “It is fantastic news, great news for the Humber.“The opportunities the freeport will bring, with two tax zones approved and a third which will come through, are fantastic and enable us to go on with all that decarbonisation offers to the North and South Bank through offshore wind, hydrogen and carbon capture, alongside the manufacturing.
"We are front and centre of the decarbonisation strategy, the Humber represents the biggest opportunity and freeports are hugely supportive of schemes working towards that.“
He said interest was strong, with the confirmation received making it an even stronger case to present as an investment opportunity, as highlighted by one company already
“We have the company, Pensana, having already announced its intention to develop a rare earths processing complex, confident in the delivery of a freeport.
“They can see the benefits freeport will bring, and that’s the Humber winning over other sites in the UK because they had the belief. We landed a very compelling bid in front of the government, and I couldn’t be more delighted.
“A lot of work has gone into this opportunity, and the private and public sector really got after it, to really maximise it, and I can assure everyone we are doing just that.
“The local authority stakeholders have been magnificent in their support.”
Special mention was given to Cleethorpes and Immingham MP Martin Vickers, who chaired the all party parliamentary group on freeports, keeping up a constant dialogue.
In the first wave the two tax sites approved are East Hull (Port of Hull and Siemens Gamesa's wind blade manufacturing facility, Saltend, the Humber International Enterprise Park and the Yorkshire Energy Park) and Humber Southbank (Port of Immingham and Able Marine Energy Park.
The Goole tax site is described as "still making good progress" and is anticipated in the next wave.
North East Lincolnshire Council is to be the accountable body, with chief executive Rob Walsh, delighted at it being "go for the Humber Freeport", describing it as a "massive pan Humber effort to get this over the line, underpinned by cracking collaboration between Associated British Ports and the four Humber local authorities".