Skip to main content

Freeports: Countryside

Question for Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

UIN 48484, tabled on 6 September 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of freeport zones on (a) national parks and (b) Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Answered on

21 September 2022

National parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty within Freeport outer boundaries will not be negatively impacted by Freeport policy. Freeports are at the core of our Levelling Up Agenda and, by delivering investment on specific sites which benefit from tax and customs benefits, identified for their suitability, Freeports will create thousands of high-quality jobs in some of our most deprived communities.

Those sites sit within an outer boundary, which sets the limit for how far apart they can be and indicates the area that is expected to benefit most directly from the Freeport's economic impacts. While the Outer Boundary intersects with some, this does not mean that the entire area has been earmarked for development or that it has special planning. Moreover, local authorities remain responsible for providing planning permission for any development within the Freeport area and Freeport status does not in any way undercut the local planning process.

Decisions about the locations of Freeports were taken carefully, through a competitive process detailed in the Freeports Bidding Prospectus , and since then the Government has been working collaboratively with local partners to help them develop and finalise their plans, ensuring that these deliver the best outcomes for the area, wider region, and UK as a whole.