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05/03/21 - Freeport for the Humber and more quayside investment for offshore wind too

User AvatarPosted by Colin Weston at 05/03/2021 14:22:13
Freeport for the Humber and more quayside investment for offshore wind too

The Humber has got its biggest budget wishes of freeport status and further port infrastructure investment - with around £75 million understood to be heading to Able Marine Energy Park.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak named the Humber as one of eight locations across England for a special trading zone, while highlighting ‘Humberside’ and Teesside as part of the acceleration of offshore wind.

It should bring a huge economic boost to the region, with up to 7,000 jobs forecast as major manufacturing is attracted by key incentives

 

Submitted in February, the bid had been described as the most compelling by the team, led by ABP, and all party chair and Cleethorpes and Immingham MP Martin Vickers - praised in the speech.

Mr Sunak described it as a “special economic zone with different rules to make it easier and cheaper to do business.” He promised a “unique approach” on planning, infrastructure, cheaper customs, favourable tariffs and lower taxes.

The Humber zone features custom zones locations across the patch - including the four main ports - with three new tax sites highlighted for land east of Port of Hull - currently in planning - Goole and Able Marine Energy Park at North Killingholme.

 

Significant seed capital resources to ensure the benefits of freeport status are felt across all four Humber local authority areas, including at the South Humber Industrial Investment Project site between Grimsby and Immingham, are part of it.

Dafydd Williams, head of policy, communications and economic development at ABP was behind the bid. He welcomed the "unexpectedly quick" go-ahead and said it "underlined the fact we had a really good bid".

"This should bring a lot of new jobs to the Humber - around 7,000 - it is a big deal," he said as he gave initial reaction.

On the specific funding, under the Offshore Wind Manufacturing Investment Scheme, AMEP is the recipient, as a fully consented site ready to step up and deliver on the green recovery.

 

Able Group executive chairman Peter Stephenson has described the Budget announcement as “the culmination of dogged perseverance underpinned by our ultimate faith in the concept and unstinting support from many organisations and individuals”.

 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already raised the offshore wind capacity target significantly in post-pandemic plans to make the UK the 'Saudi Arabia of wind'.

The North Killingholme site is a £450 million to £500 million proposal on the last deep-water facing estuary land on the South Humber Bank.

It will provide almost a mile (1,400m) of new deep-water quay alongside a 500 acre development site which has been designated for offshore wind development.

An agreement is already in place with a monopile manufacturer and talks are ongoing with others as the supply chain builds again.

The exact size of the pot should be confirmed in the coming days.

Cllr Rob Waltham, leader, North Lincolnshire Council, said: “This latest announcement of Government funding demonstrates the confidence in the plans and proposals which have been developed and are designed around attracting the investment needed to create well-paid, highly-skilled jobs.

“We have the skills and experience and we are now positioned as central to the development of a world-leading industry – people across North Lincolnshire will directly benefit from this announcement for years to come.

“The Government is taking North Lincolnshire really seriously. This demonstrates their commitment to providing better paid jobs for local people – we are starting to see the Prime Minister’s ambitions for levelling up in the north and we are clearly now in receipt of more cash which will drive that.

“This commitment recognises a lot of work which has taken place across a great many years. This project, alongside the £10.7m Future High Streets funding and £20m for the Towns Fund mean the area will benefit from £100 million of Government backing – a real show of confidence and investment that we will use to support the area to bounce back from Covid-19.

“I am really pleased to be able to welcome this cash boost which recognises the ambition and the quality of our plans.”

The Humber sits east of a new UK Infrastructure Bank in Leeds, primed with £12 billion with £40 billion anticipated.

Changing the economic geography was a key theme, with 45 town deals also passed - having been piloted with Grimsby.

Stephen Parnaby OBE, chair of the Humber LEP, said: “We are delighted that both the Humber Freeport bid and Able UK’s bid for support to deliver the Able Marine Energy Park have been successful. These are transformative opportunities for the region, drawing on the unique asset of the Humber Estuary and our special role in enabling clean growth.

“They have also been signature projects for the Humber LEP – in the case of Able we have been working closely with them for almost 10 years, though highs and lows – so in our final month I am especially pleased that these important foundations will now be in place for the next chapter of our region’s growth.

“The way the private sector came together to lead the development of a compelling Humber Freeport bid, backed by the LEPs and local authorities, was truly exemplary and I am sure it will now lead to some impressive results.”

 

"The move to ergo has given us an excellent opportunity to have a dedicated on-site point of access for both tenants and the wider business population. This will enable us to continue our work supporting regional businesses and promoting supply chain opportunities."

- Dawn Hall, Business Support - Project Manager, East Riding of Yorkshire Council.