A Freeport in the Thames Estuary would generate more than 25,000 new jobs and contribute over £5 billion to the national economy.
A bidding consortium involving Ford Dagenham in East London and the owners of Tilbury and London Gateway ports in Thurrock have joined forces with Thames Enterprise Park to submit a freeport application to Government.
The Thames Freeport bid has wide-ranging benefits for local communities with new jobs, up-skilling opportunities and investment in infrastructure. They include:
- £5.1 billion additional GVA
- Over £4.5 billion in new public and private investment
- 25,000+ new jobs with many more across supply chains, with significant investment in training and skills
- 1,700 acres of development land – much with planning consent
- £400 million port investment into some of the most deprived areas
Freeports are zones where normal tax and customs rules are changed to encourage economic activity. Freeport status also offers wider benefits for businesses such as planning reforms, funding for infrastructure improvements and innovation incentives.
The bid is supported by the Thames Estuary Growth Board (TEGB). There are five Local London boroughs involved in the Thames Estuary growth project and two of its leaders are on the board.
In October 2020, the TEGB set out its guiding principles for any freeport proposals within the Estuary. These principles laid out the criteria it expected freeports to meet, including tangible benefits for the Estuary region and its residents. They focused on six key areas: economic, investment, innovation, environment, regeneration and community.
The Thames Estuary Envoy, Kate Willard OBE, has led the region’s support of the bid. She is lead signatory on a joint letter of key stakeholders backing the bid including Estuary MPs, business leaders, place leaders and Lords.
In 2020, the Government announced plans to create 10 freeports in the United Kingdom to turbo-charge trade following Brexit. More than 30 bids have been submitted and a decision is expected in April or May.
To find out more and back the bid visit thamesestuary.org.uk/freeport-bid