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Two Welsh bids awarded Freeport status

22 Mar 2023 3 minute read
Harbourside. Photo Neath Port Talbot Council

The UK and Welsh governments have jointly confirmed that projects based on Anglesey and in Neath Port Talbot/Milford Haven have been awarded Freeport status, following a bidding process which started last year.

Backed by up to £26 million each in UK Government funding, the two freeports are projected to generate an estimated £5 billion of private and public investment and could create over 20,000 new, high-skilled jobs.

The Celtic Freeport bid was submitted on behalf of a public-private consortium, whose partners include Associated British Ports (ABP), Neath Port Talbot Council, Pembrokeshire County Council and the Port of Milford Haven.

The Anglesey bid was jointly developed with Stena Line, owners of Holyhead port, and Anglesey County Council and backed by local politicians on all sides.

Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “The Welsh Government has a clear economic mission to transform the Welsh economy, creating a stronger, fairer and greener future.

“The designation of these sites as Wales’ first freeports will reinforce that mission, building on the significant investments and partnerships we have made in these regions over many years.

“The joint working between governments on the freeport programme should serve as a blueprint for future intergovernmental work on a whole range of issues.”

Green energy

Anglesey Freeport aims to attract £1.4 billion worth of investment in the green energy sector and create at least 3,500 jobs with a focus on marine energy technology and low carbon energy.

It will also embark on a variety of infrastructure programmes including the Holyhead port redevelopment and restoration of the port’s railhead and track.

Celtic Freeport aims to attract significant inward investment including £3.5 billion in the hydrogen industry as well as the creation of 16,000 jobs.

The freeport will focus on low carbon technologies, including floating offshore wind, hydrogen, carbon capture and biofuel.

This will be supported by the development of land and quayside space and bringing a disused railhead back into operation.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak added: “Wales is a thriving part of the UK, and today’s new freeports will see businesses and opportunities for people in and around Anglesey, Port Talbot and Milford Haven go from strength to strength.

“Everyone deserves equality of opportunity and working closely with the Welsh Government has helped to deliver these fantastic new sites.

“Today’s Freeports show the hard work being done day in, day out to bring new, high-skilled jobs to communities across Wales and deliver on my promise to grow the economy.”

Benefits

Freeports are special areas within the UK’s borders where different economic regulations will apply.

Alongside a package of benefits, the sites will enjoy tax and customs incentives to boost investment and create employment opportunities in some of Wales’ most disadvantaged communities.

Virginia Crosbie, Ynys Môn MP, described freeport status as “a game changer for our island with huge incentives for investment and jobs after decades of underfunding.

“If we are going to make a difference to islanders’ lives, then this sort of innovative and impactful initiative is the way forward.”

Responding to the successful Celtic Freeport bid, Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb said: “No question, this is a milestone moment for Milford Haven and the whole Pembrokeshire economy.

“A lot of hard work has gone into this project, and I am delighted to have been part of the team to get it over the line.”

Three groups in Wales entered the bidding process last year, submitting their proposals jointly to the UK and Welsh governments.

The Newport Freeport bid (including Cardiff Airport) missed out on selection.


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
11 months ago

Congratulations Ynys Mon, you have won tonight’s mystery prize…

A Freeport Convention album

Last edited 11 months ago by Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
11 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

So Stenna, Cyngor Ynys Mon and the Government of Cymru now own the the Port and a large tract of the land of Holyhead but ruled for Rishi Sunak by Virginia Crosby and the folks of Caergybi can gather every morning outside the dock gates and wait to see who gets to be picked to labour just like the good old days, the porters, lumpers and stevedores of old… Meanwhile down at the Llanbedr Space Port the good folks of Llanbedr will stroll through the village on Saturday morning to try and persuade Lee Waters to take his foot off… Read more »

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
11 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

The Prisoner in No 10 says I am not a number, I am a free man, I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed linked, briefed, debriefed or rumbled, my life is my own…

His tax returns fail to answer many questions except that he has trousered £5 million while being chancellor and still pays tax in the US keeping his green card warm…you don’t get more linked-in than Rishi, even more so since he has become the PM of England who makes the rules for the bankers and the fools…

Last edited 11 months ago by Mab Meirion
Gareth
Gareth
11 months ago

“The Office for Budget Responsibility expects the Freeports to generate little additional activity, with most of it being displaced from other areas”.

The above is taken from a UK gov report into Freeports, and is probably one of the reasons the Tory’s closed down freeports in the past.

WilliamsG
WilliamsG
11 months ago

Did I read that correctly ? ‘Wales is a thriving part of the UK” Sunak is so totally out of touch with reality, I think he actually believes what he says

Lib Dem YesCymru Infiltrator
Lib Dem YesCymru Infiltrator
11 months ago

But… Neath and Milford Haven are as far apart as Bristol and the Isle of Wight?

hdavies15
hdavies15
11 months ago

I guess it’s just the prelude to the entire coast from the Haven to Port Talbot being opened up to all sorts of carpetbaggers. All in the name of “activity”.

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
11 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Don’t forget, the Tories don’t do geography which is why they did not know that Dover was a major exporting port to the EU, or that the new HS2 commuter line from Birminham to (not quite) London does not go through Wales.

MandiA
MandiA
11 months ago

The Norsemen in the form of Stena have reclaimed Anglesey. The Cymru are consigned to the territory formerly known as Ynys Mon. The new Normans will pour over the Straits to occupy their new build beach front castles and to take up the ‘opportunities’ dangled under the noses of the unsuspecting ‘islanders’. Mr Drakeford’s new language and the warm relationship with No.10 only lead to one place – the House of Lords – where mysteriously a Welsh Lord cannot comment on Welsh matters. I am definitely not a robot.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
11 months ago

It seems like only yesterday when Longshanks turfed out the locals of the Charter Port of Llanfaes and carted them off to the marram grasslands of Newborough.

History repeats in as much as the adopted daughter of Fat Shanks intends to do similar on the opposite corner of Ynys Mon

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