The Port of Hull is central to the plans. Credit: Future Humber

Renewables targeted as Humber Freeport launches

Chair Simon Bird said the freeport could be “the primary vehicle for the delivery of the Government’s levelling up agenda in the Humber”.

An event at Associated British Ports’ Pump House in Hull’s Alexandra Dock marked the establishment of the Humber Freeport Company and signals that the organisation is now fully up and running.

Sites on both sides of the Humber estuary benefit from freeport status.

The four major ports of Hull, Goole, Immingham and Grimsby are all included, along with three “tax sites”:

  • Able Marine Energy Park and Immingham
  • Hull East centred on the Saltend Chemical Park
  • A Goole site adjacent to the Siemens Mobility rail plant

Companies investing in these sites will receive land tax relief, business rates relief, enhanced capital allowances and National Insurance contribution relief for employers.

Freeports have long been a flagship policy for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who pushed the zones forward in his time as chancellor of the exchequer.

Green energy and servicing the offshore wind market are central to the Humber project. Other sectors identified include chemicals, logistics, advanced manufacturing and tech.

Bird, who is also regional director for the Humber at ABP, said: “The Humber Freeport has an outstanding and potentially unique opportunity to be not merely a source for economic growth, but the primary vehicle for the delivery of the Government’s levelling up agenda in the Humber.

“Humber Freeport will seek to secure hundreds of millions of pounds of private sector investment and the final business case conservatively estimates that such investment will create at least 7,000 new, mostly skilled, jobs.

“This investment will have a transformative effect in lifting the prospects of the region.”

Organisations committing to freeport sites will also benefit from assumed permitted development rights to speed up the planning process.

Michael Green addressed the Alexandra Dock event. Credit: Neil Holmes Photography

Also speaking at the launch event was Michael Green, head of freeports at the Department for Business and Trade.

He said: “Freeports represent a generational shift. Inward investment is hugely important for job creation and regeneration and we are looking to build on the UK’s centres of excellence with targeted Government support.

“It will ensure the region makes the most of the unique assets it holds. Being within four hours of most areas of the UK, the size of opportunity here in the Humber should not be underestimated.”

Tax sites

The Able Marine Energy Park is a fully consented project and a bespoke port facility for the renewable energy sector, particularly offshore wind. The over-arching aim is the investment of £450m to develop 1,340m of new deep-water quays, laydown lands and manufacturing facilities.

The Goole tax site “represents a unique opportunity to co-locate with the new Siemens rail factory currently under construction” creating the opportunity to be part of that facility’s supply chain. The tax site is described as a large undeveloped site with excellent transport links. The site is ideally situated to access Hull, Goole and Scunthorpe as well as Yorkshire logistics hotspots Doncaster and Wakefield.

The 370-acre Saltend site is owned and operated by PX Group and is home to some of the world’s leading blue-chip manufacturing, chemicals and renewable energy businesses. Adjacent to Saltend is the Yorkshire Energy Park, billed as a next-generation energy and technology business park.

In June, Saltend was announced as the location for a major hydrogen renewable energy project led by Meld Energy.

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