Solent freeport given final approval

The Solent Freeport, covering the international maritime ports of Southampton and Portsmouth, as well as Southampton International Airport, has been given the final seal of approval to open and operate by the UK government.

This is cause for celebration indeed, given that the Solent Freeport it is one of the only three locations in the UK approved as such so far.

Lawyers across Foot Anstey's specialist Energy & Infrastructure and Property sectors have welcomed this news, having been at the forefront of the Ports sector for well over 10 years now, advising on infrastructure, environmental and real estate development projects, commercial contracts and representing ports in prosecuting individuals and businesses for regulatory breaches of relevant legislation.

Foot Anstey's environmental and planning lawyers have worked closely on Development Orders, an intrinsic part of Freeport operation in the Plymouth and South Devon region. Our construction and property teams are capable of acting for landlords and tenants alike in negotiating the complex development projects that are likely to spring from freeport status.

The Solent Freeport will create 32,000 jobs across the UK and enable the UK and the region to capitalise on the Solent's geographic advantage with numerous economic opportunities including lower taxes to be paid as  well customs duty advantages across the designated "tax" and "customs" sites within the Freeport. In addition to the economic opportunities available to businesses located within the Freeports, the hinterland areas near to the Freeports will hopefully also benefit from increased local employment opportunities within the Freeports and from the location of downstream service businesses in the hinterland area.

Tim Williamson, Legal Director at Foot Anstey commented: "Freeports are exciting opportunities for the UK to do more business with more parts of the world more frequently and sustainably. Plenty of thought has been given to devising a Freeport model that combines the need for investment and opportunities for growth with the need to ensure that investment is sustainable and respects the environment in which the Freeport community exists. Freeports present plenty of positive outlooks for the regions they are situated in but with any opportunity, every investor, business and local authority should be consult legal teams, so they have a clear understanding of what they are getting involved in."

"Many congratulations to all those involved in driving these complex projects forward to this point.  Foot Anstey looks forward to engaging with business and clients all over the world in discussions about how investment in the UK's Freeports might, or perhaps should, form part of their commercial strategy for the years ahead." 

Nicola Sutton, Legal Director at Foot Anstey, has been a keen follower of the process. She says "I am genuinely excited about the future for the region. The development potential is huge and we at Foot Anstey will play an active role in supporting and collaborating with stakeholders, watch this space for all sorts of interesting articles and events we have in the planning."

To find out more about how Foot Anstey can support and provide pragmatic legal advice on Freeport activity, please get in touch with the team below.