Nottingham City Council and Derby City Council support the call for the creation of a freeport serving the region which could create up to 60,000 new jobs.
Freeports are made to attract major domestic and international investment and also have been used successfully used in countries all over the world to drive prosperity and boost trade.
The bid continues to be submitted by a consortium including private sector businesses and native authorities, with support from universities, business groups and the proposed Midlands Engine Development Corporation.
The bid centres on three main sites:
- The East Midlands Airport Gateway and Industrial Cluster (EMAGIC), located round the UK’s largest freight airport at East Midlands Airport.
- Uniper’s site at Ratcliffe on Soar, in which the existing coal-fired power station will be decommissioned and replaced with a zero-carbon technology and energy hub.
- The East Midlands Intermodal Park (EMIP), that will become a next-generation, rail-connected business park with links towards the rest of the country and beyond.
If the bid works, the East Midlands Freeport would offer a range of employment and skills opportunities across the region and strengthen connectivity across to any or all parts of the UK, stimulating investment and developing regional strengths in advanced manufacturing, automotive and logistics.
Earlier this month, MPs from all parties across the East Midlands united behind the bid having a video which urges the Government to back the proposal.
Leader of Nottingham City Council, Councillor David Mellen said: “I'm happy to support this Freeport bid. Providing jobs for the citizens of Nottingham is going to be key to recovery.
“We want to create more jobs inside the city, but are aware that many Nottingham residents visit workplaces in the region, including in the region around East Midlands airport.
“We need the public transport offer to those workplaces to be improved and investment from the government in our region that has been left behind in funding compared with other areas. The Freeport is an important part from the development needed.”
Leader of Derby City Council, Councillor Chris Poulter said: “Derby is a leading strategic engineering, manufacturing and innovation city, and the most productive area in the UK with a specialism in manufacturing.
“We are the place to find world class brands including Most highly regarded, Alstom (formerly Bombardier Transportation) and Toyota, all leading, technologically driven businesses serving global markets.
“Any proposals which let the East Midlands, and the UK in general, to more effectively trade internationally are of course synergistic with our aspirations for the future of Derby’s economy.
“Good quality to working with Government, the non-public sector and our local partners to leverage the entire benefits of Freeport status.”
Elizabeth Fagan, Chair D2N2 Chair added: “I’m delighted with the support we have received from across the region. Through strong collaboration and partnerships, we have assembled a compelling bid that will deliver a landmark opportunity to regenerate our communities, create thousands of jobs and green growth.”
The East Midlands Freeport bid is one of a significant number of ports and airports over the UK interested in becoming a Freeport, with all bids to be judged by an exam panel in March, and decisions expected in spring. When the government backs the bid, it might create 60,000 new jobs and add over £2billion towards the local economy.