The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has announced that Wales is getting two new Freeports that will help to drive growth and levelling up opportunities.
The sites will be based in Anglesey and Port Talbot and Milford Haven, and are anticipated to bring in almost £5 billion worth of public and private investment as well as creating over 20,000 new, high skilled jobs. Thanks to up to £26 million each in government backing, the projects are also expected to boost the economy, as well as addressing any gaps that may affect investment.
Speaking about the projects, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:
“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.”
Mark Drakeford, Wales’ First Minister, added:
“I am pleased to confirm the Celtic Freeport in Milford Haven and Port Talbot and Anglesey Freeport have been selected as Wales’ new freeports.
“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.”
In the announcement, the Levelling Up Department outlined the individual aims of each project. These are:
- Anglesey Freeport aims to attract £1.4 billion worth of investment in the green energy sector and create at least 3,500 jobs, generating half a billion in additional Gross Value Added by 2030. The Freeport will have a focus on marine energy technology and low carbon energy and will embark on a variety of infrastructure programmes including the Holyhead port redevelopment and the restoration of the 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, generating £900 million in Gross Value Added by 2030. The Freeport will focus on low carbon technology like floating offshore wind, hydrogen, carbon capture, utilisation and storage and biofuels to support the accelerated reduction of carbon emissions. This will be supported by the development of land and quayside space and bringing a disused railhead back into operation, to enable infrastructure to support development.
Secretary of State for Wales, David TC Davies, said:
“The creation of two Freeports in Wales is absolutely fantastic news and a huge boost to Wales, growing the economy and creating thousands of jobs.
“The UK Government and this Prime Minister have long been committed to expanding Freeports to Wales and we have more than delivered on that pledge with the two successful buds confirmed today.
“The Freeports programme is already benefitting businesses and levelling up communities elsewhere in the UK. I look forward to seeing greater investment and prosperity delivered for Wales as a result of this announcement.”