The government publishes its response to the consultation relating to freeports …

[UPDATE: For the subsequent legislation relating to this consultation, please view this post.]

The government has published the following response to the consultation titled "Freeports Consultation - Boosting Trade, Jobs and Investment Across the UK" (which initially ran for 10 weeks from 10/02/2020 until 20/04/2020, and was extended by 12 weeks until 13/07/2020):

  • October 2020: Freeports - Response to the Consultation (pdf) (link).


  • The "Introduction" at the start of the above response document includes the following information:
    - "The Freeports consultation was published in February 2020; this set out the government’s vision to establish up to 10 Freeports across the UK. It was due to close in April; however, the UK and the rest of the world have seen wide-ranging disruption as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Due to the disruption to key sectors arising from Covid-19, the consultation was extended to 13 July. Overall, the government received 364 responses. This response follows a comprehensive process to analyse all respondents’ views. It outlines the responses the government received and how they fed into our policy development while providing further clarity on how Freeports will work.".
    - "Having carefully considered all responses and having expanded our initial Freeports offer, the government now wants Freeport coalitions – of international and local businesses, academic institutions, ports and local authorities – to start forming around what we have announced and to begin to iterate how their region can best meet Freeports’ objectives. The finalised policy and bidding process, including a clear Bidding Prospectus, setting out what Freeports will offer and how interested parties might apply, will be launched in due course.".
  • Chapter 5 ("Planning") within the above response document includes the following information:
    - "The government welcomes the responses received in relation to these questions. As suggested, the government will explore expanding permitted development rights to bring seaports in line with airports, use the Freeports bidding process to encourage the use of Local Development Orders where appropriate, and consider reviewing the National Policy Statement for Ports to further support port development. The government is committed to working with local authorities and businesses to ensure the planning system supports the development of ambitious Freeports across the UK.".
    - "Given that many respondents were broadly in favour of expanding existing permitted development rights for seaports, the government will amend those regulations to align with similar rights for airports by April 2021, allowing for a wider range of development and operational activities to take place in seaport areas. The government will ensure that the amended permitted development rights are proportionate to support the development needs of seaports while ensuring appropriate planning and environmental protections remain in place.".

Other sources of information:

  • February 2020: Freeports Consultation - Boosting Trade, Jobs and Investment Across the UK (pdf) (link).
    - Note: For more information about the above document, please view this post.