The Plymouth and South Devon Freeport – which will create thousands of jobs and transform how businesses can operate in the region – has been formally approved by the Government.
The announcement unlocks millions of pounds of grant seed funding and enables eligible businesses to join and take advantage of the Freeport status.
It also means new employment land can be bought forward and will accelerate the formation of advanced manufacturing clusters, leverage £250m of private sector investment, and support a new £30m Innovation Centre at Oceansgate.
The Freeport plan builds on the region’s status as a centre of excellence for marine, maritime, defence and manufacturing innovation and expertise.
It will also harness and expand its work in nationally critical sectors including marine autonomy, maritime net zero, offshore renewable energy, maritime logistics, and digital oceans.
The plan has been developed by a consortium including Plymouth City Council, South Hams District Council and Devon County Council working alongside Babcock, Princess Yachts, Carlton Power, and the Sherford Consortium. It is also supported by a wide range of stakeholders including the University of Plymouth and University of Exeter, Plymouth port operators, skills providers, and the Heart of the South West LEP.
The University of Plymouth will chair the Freeport Innovation Board and is driving the project’s innovation strategy, working alongside the University of Exeter, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, City College Plymouth, Babcock, and Princess Yachts.
Its work will harness the work carried out through existing initiatives involving the University such as Smart Sound Connect, the National Centre for Coastal Autonomy, and the Plymouth Marine e-Living Lab project.