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Welsh trio in the running for Freeport status

15 Dec 2022 3 minute read
Holyhead Harbour. Picture by Darren Glanville (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Siân Williams

Bids have been received from three Welsh ports interested in setting up the Freeport Programme worth £26 million in UK Government funding.

The applications are from Anglesey, Cardiff Airport and a joint application by Milford Haven and Port Talbot.

The latter bid, under the name of Celtic Freeport, is a consortium of Associated British Ports, Neath Port Talbot Council, Pembrokeshire County Council and the Port of Milford Haven.

All three bids are supported by other stakeholders as well.

Stena Line

Anglesey Freeport is a partnership between Isle of Anglesey County Council and Stena Line. Virginia Crosbie MP for Anglesey told Nation.Cymru: “I have been working on the bid for Anglesey to be a freeport for over three years now, and I have spoken about it more than 27 times in the House of Commons Chamber.”

She added: “A freeport will generate thousands of jobs and help keep our young people on the island. It will benefit the whole of north Wales and bring in investment. It has the backing of M-Sparc (Wales’s first Science Park, opened in 2018), as well as Bangor University and further education college Grŵp Llandrillo Menai.

The Conservative MP said analysis conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, indicates that an Anglesey Freeport could create high skilled and well-paid jobs.

Anglesey County Council, in a statement said: “Freeports remove barriers to trade and provide easements that simplify how businesses can operate. According to initial modelling estimates, the freeport would attract £1bn of much-needed investment, including new, high-salary jobs, in the range of 3,500 to (potentially) 13,000 across the (north Wales).”

Inward investment

The Celtic Freeport bid also claims it will attract “significant inward investment” into the area. Crucially, perhaps, it would also support the roll-out of floating offshore wind (FLOW) within the Celtic Sea. This project is of significant importance to Welsh Government.

Roger Maggs, Chair of the Celtic Freeport bid said: “Creating two green energy ports at Pembroke Dock and Port Talbot is central to the bid … The Celtic Freeport partners have a clear vision which will support Wales’s transition to Net Zero in a way that ensures the skills, jobs and economic benefits from new, green industries are retained in Wales.”

First Minister Mark Drakeford told a recent Welsh Affairs Select Committee in the House of Commons on 30 November, that in order to, “invest in the renewable energy future in Wales, a significant port infrastructure is needed that will have a genuine economic impact on that area. Wales has a number of natural ports that offer unique advantages,” he said.

The three bids received will now be assessed by officials from the Welsh Government and from the UK Government before being put to Minister to decide.

The successful bid will be announced in Spring 2023.


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

That’s it then, our future is decided…

Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago

I hope they have all spoken to the people in charge if the former freeport in Cardiff, and asked ,why was the company dissolved, and why did the Tory party not renew any of the previous licences granted.

Llyn
Llyn
1 month ago

Bizarrely Natasha Asghar MS for South East Wales and Newport isn’t backing the Newport freeport bid but instead the Anglesey bid? – https://twitter.com/natasghar/status/1602689456255164416?t=CqTKIvKoUl2AFgO_Phii9A&s=19

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  Llyn

Follow the money ….perhaps!

Linda Balfe
Linda Balfe
1 month ago
Reply to  Llyn

Perhaps supporting the development in, what is currently, a Conservative constituency is, what matters to her?

John Davies
John Davies
1 month ago

Experience elsewhere has suggested that freeports tend to become organised crime hubs; everything from money-laundering on a large scale, to the drugs trade and people-trafficking, complete with the involvement of some very unsavoury people who, experienced in this sort of thing, can intimidate and run rings around local administrative structures. Any benefits they bring are bought at a very high cost. I am not at all sure what the relevance of Drakeford’s contribution is anyway. There seems no obvious connection between freeports and renewable energy. It looks like a rather unconvincing attempt to use a popular cause to whitewash a… Read more »

Richard
Richard
1 month ago
Reply to  John Davies

While there are certainly some well noted examples of negatives as you say – Mamy freeports work wsll via local partnerships and boost the host areas. We cannot just sit back , complain and let others move forward. Ymlaen Cymru !

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

A Freeport means thousands of jobs! nonsense! The principal of containerisation means the reverse…is she lying or just thick…see Seaforth Dock, Liverpool…

Richard
Richard
1 month ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

I suggest you look at other countrys freeport activities….they do only work via genuine local partnerships and community ownership. The main negatives have perhaps been effects on areas outside or around them – just like enterprise zones

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard

Community ownership ? Admirable concept but who promotes it in Wales or even in the wider UK? Government at all levels prefer to let loose the corporate wide boys to duck and dive and even rip up the rule books where they think they can get away with it.

John Snowden
John Snowden
1 month ago

Don’t worry North Wales it won’t happen up here so need for a 3 strates crossing like everything else it will go to south Wales so no further investment in Holyhead just let it rot

Linda Balfe
Linda Balfe
1 month ago

Virginia Crosby MP for Anglesey told Nation.Cymru: “I have been working on the bid for Anglesey to be a freeport for over three years now ….”

Three years ago she hadn’t even been elected. So much for truth and accuracy.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago

Forget a free port. I want a free country. #YesCymru 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Last edited 1 month ago by Y Cymro

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