Bid for freeport status

Bid for freeport status

A report setting out plans to submit a joint bid for Freeport status to Government as part of the EU Transition will be considered by BCP Council’s Cabinet this month (January 2021).

Cabinet members will be asked to approve the council’s inclusion, and the allocation of £50,000 to facilitate a joint bid with partners at the Dorset LEP, Bournemouth Airport and Aviation Business Park and the Port of Poole.

Last November the government released the ‘Freeports Bidding Prospectus’ and formally opened the Freeports bidding process. The deadline for applications is 5 February 2021.

Councillor Philip Broadhead, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Economy at BCP Council, said; “Our city region is perfectly placed to support the Government’s ambition to create Freeports in the UK. We have the ambition and drive backed up by a strong strategic partnership to bring forward a sustainable proposal for Freeport Status.

“Our advancement in technology and building on the success of our internationally recognised Smart Place programme can provide the digital infrastructure needed, and open up opportunities that could spearhead the logistics around movement of goods and freight/trucks, not only supporting our local area but our regional communities too. It is this advancement around digital technology that will also enable gigabit speed connectively for businesses therefore positioning our area as an ideal place for businesses to invest.

“We have the required infrastructure at Port of Poole and Bournemouth Airport, along with a solid manufacturing base to contribute to this important UK wide economic strategy.

“We are absolutely committed to championing our local economy as we both deal with the pandemic and plan for the future, and the opportunity to bring investment and create jobs through developing a Freeport status will provide long-term benefit for residents and future generations.”

Freeport status in simple terms streamlines the import process, incentivising use of entry points including the airport and port and attract trade to the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole city region.

Jim Stewart, Chief Executive, of Poole Harbour Commissioners, said: “PHC greatly appreciate BPC Council’s support for this exciting initiative. If approved by Government, Freeport status will provide a significant boost to our local economy.”

The cabinet report is due to be considered by the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Panel on 4 January 2021. A copy of the report can be found here.

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