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The Thames Freeport Bid

A freeport would provide incredible opportunities for the Thames Estuary and all the people who live and work in it, helping communities to thrive. Find out more and show your support below.

WHAT IS A FREEPORT?

Freeports are zones where normal tax and customs rules are changed to encourage economic activity.

In 2020, the government announced plans to create 10 freeports in the United Kingdom to turbo-charge trade following Brexit. These freeports will become hubs for innovation, boost global trade, attract inward investment and increase productivity.

Freeport status will also offer wider benefits for businesses such as planning reforms, funding for infrastructure improvements and innovation incentives.

Bids will be assessed in March with decisions expected in spring.

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WHY IS THE THAMES ESTUARY THE RIGHT PLACE FOR A FREEPORT?

The River Thames is the UK’s gateway to the rest of the world. The Estuary has excellent links into central London and major European cities, as well as vast swathes of riverside and brownfield sites, many with planning consents in place.

A freeport would be a magnet for business and investment, and those economic benefits would ripple across the Estuary with jobs, up-skilling opportunities, improvements to infrastructure, and other benefits.

The Thames Estuary has the potential to contribute £115 billion to the national economy by 2050 and provide 1.5 million new jobs. A freeport would be a huge step towards delivering this.

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ABOUT THE THAMES FREEPORT BID

DP World and Forth Ports are bidding for a Thames Freeport, with London Gateway, the Port of Tilbury and Ford’s Dagenham engine plant at its heart – highlighting the role of the River Thames in a prosperous, global Britain.

No other port cluster in the south of England has the capacity to substantially expand its operational area within the lifetime of this parliament. Freeport status would enable us to leverage the best of the private sector to level up the disadvantaged communities along the estuary.

Find out more on the Thames Freeport website.

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HOW IS THE THAMES ESTUARY GROWTH BOARD INVOLVED?

Last year, we set out our guiding principles for freeport proposals within the Estuary. These principles laid out the criteria we expect 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 bidding consortium (DP World), Forth Ports (Port of Tilbury), Ford Dagenham and Thames Enterprise Park have kept us updated with progress around their bid and it has been exciting to see how they have met our principles in their planning. They are world-class partners and will make an incredible pitch to Government.

We will support them by lobbying the Government that a Thames Freeport is in the best interests of the UK as well as our region.

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THE BENEFITS IN A NUTSHELL

A freeport would help communities to thrive and support us to level up with more prosperous parts of the UK. It would also support our ambition to deliver the greenest estuary on the planet. It has the potential to deliver:

  • 25,000+ new jobs
  • Increased average wages
  • New training and upskilling opportunities
  • Enhanced physical and digital infrastructure
  • £400million in unlocked port investment
  • New foreign investment
  • Catalyse generation of clean energy, including hydrogen
  • Contribution to regional and national net zero targets
  • Innovation in low carbon technology
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For more information on the Thames freeport bid and how it could benefit the Estuary, watch our video below.

Watch The Video

HOW DO I SHOW MY SUPPORT?

Backing the bid is about so much more than winning freeport status. It is about backing real change for future generations in the Thames Estuary and beyond. Show your support by clicking ‘Back The Bid’. Thank you!







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