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East Midlands Freeport welcomes green light for key site

Posted 14 Jul 2023

The UK’s only inland Freeport has taken a major step forward after a blueprint for a key site - set to feature a renewable energy hub - was given the thumbs up. 

Last night (Thursday 13th July 2023), Rushcliffe Borough Council approved a ‘local development order’ (LDO) for Uniper’s site at Ratcliffe on Soar which sets out clear development guidelines to control, shape and enable regeneration. 

Proposals for the 200-hectare space on the Uniper site include a trailblazing facility generating low carbon, renewable energy and opportunities for global manufacturing companies to set up shop. 

East Midlands Freeport (EMF) is creating tens-of-thousands of jobs, £8.9bn for the region’s economy and hundred-of-millions of retained tax to reinvest. 

East Midlands Freeport Chair, Nora Senior: 

'I’m delighted that the Ratcliffe development order has been approved. Securing new global investment in the region and driving cutting edge green growth are at the heart of the Freeport. The LDO provides greater certainty at the outset for the types of development to be permitted and allows the planning process to be more responsive and agile. EMF is committed to establishing good design principles which will support the creation of an international Freeport gateway.'

EMF offers strategic development land at three sites - East Midlands Airport and Gateway Industrial Cluster (EMAGIC), East Midlands Intermodal Park (EMIP) and the Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station redevelopment site. 

Tom Newman-Taylor, Chief Executive, East Midlands Freeport: 

'This is great news and an important milestone for the Freeport. But it’s clearly not the end of the journey and we’ll be working closely with partners and the local community on taking this forward in a truly collaborative way. All developments within the Freeport will be subject to existing planning laws and regulations as well as environmental rules and regulations that are already in place. We’re looking forward to working with Uniper, Rushcliffe Borough Council and others to seize this transformative opportunity for the region.'

The local development order was approved by Rushcliffe Borough Council’s full council last night – read more here. 

East Midlands Freeport received formal Government approval in March. As the only inland UK Freeport with an airport at its heart, it offers businesses a unique opportunity to: 

• Grow – attract global investment, unlock skills and create, new, high-skilled jobs 
• Collaborate – harness a unique combination of public-private sector know how 
• Drive green growth – be at the cutting edge of low carbon and renewable energy

Its air, road and rail connections are unrivalled – with fast and efficient links to 70% of the world’s major cities, 91% of the UK population within a four-hour drive and access to 18 major freight rail lines, East Midlands Freeport is the place to locate. 

The East Midlands is one of the most economically vibrant parts of the UK – home to 3.3m people, including a skilled and dynamic workforce, a host of renowned global companies, six leading universities and other internationally important educational institutions. 

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