Commenting on Wednesday’s (3 March) confirmation that one of eight freeports in the UK will be established at East Midlands Airport, East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire) chief executive Scott Knowles said: “Today’s announcement provides a much-needed boost to confidence for businesses in our region as planning continues for the post-pandemic full reopening of the economy.
“This is something we have been campaigning for since 2018, when we published our Delivering a Great Future manifesto at Westminster and presented what we called ‘The Big Opportunity’ for the region, featuring a free trade zone linked to East Midlands Airport.
“Since our manifesto was published, we believe both the need and the scale of the opportunity for our vision has only grown, and it was great to see a fantastic collaborative effort from our region during the bid process – including 15 of our MPs coming together to offer their support.
“Our region already has fantastic national and international trading links – something highlighted during the pandemic – and freeport status means we can cement our role at the centre of Britain’s post-Brexit global trading relationship.
“We are in a unique position as the only inland freeport among the 8 designated zones, which is testament to East Midlands Airport’s reputation as the country’s most important mover of international freight and the catalyst for the explosive growth we’ve witnessed in our region’s logistics sector in recent years.
“This free trade zone, which will have a focus on innovation, low carbon and trade, signals the direction of travel for the East Midlands economy – giving investors something tangible to back in order to deliver the inward investment and jobs that will enable growth.”