Freeport bosses unveil plans for multimillion-pound innovation centre

CEO Tom Newman-Taylor

East Midlands Freeport has revealed plans for a multimillion-pound zero carbon innovation centre, aiming to convert green research into viable commercial products.

The UK’s only inland Freeport has also announced it has secured £150m in investment and approved over £5m to fund the first two of seven initial projects.

This plans, says the Freeport, has already resulted in the creation of 200 new jobs.

The over-arching goal of the East Midlands Freeport is to generate tens of thousands of jobs, contribute £8.9bn to the region’s economy, and reinvest hundreds of millions of retained tax locally.

The University of Nottingham and Loughborough University will collaborate to establish the innovation centre.

These facilities will support research in electrification, hydrogen propulsion systems, and advanced manufacturing, specifically geared towards industrial applications.

Tom Newman-Taylor, chief executive, of East Midlands Freeport, said: “Today marks a big milestone for East Midlands Freeport as we start to deliver on our objectives and invest in major projects like the innovation centre to boost skills and jobs across the region.

“It’s only nine months since we received Government approval but we’re building real momentum. We’ve seen significant interest from major investors, the extension of the window for businesses to claim tax benefits on our sites announced in the Autumn Statement and the Government’s £4.5bn Advanced Manufacturing Plan. This all combines to make East Midlands Freeport an extremely compelling place to invest.

“Creating the innovation centre is another piece of that puzzle. It will help to increase access for businesses to our world-leading Universities’ R&D capabilities, create new technologies to tackle climate change boosting skills for future generations and increase the attractiveness of the region to investors. We’re already getting interest from global companies who recognise the strength of research and knowledge which resides in the East Midlands.”