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Teesside Freeport

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen officially submitted a bid to government, in February 2021, to create the UK’s first and biggest Freeport within the Tees Valley.

Freeports provide special freedoms to trade, within a specific area around a major port. Freeport status enables specific zones to benefit from a wide package of tax reliefs, simplified customs procedures, streamlined planning processes to boost redevelopment and government support to promote regeneration and innovation.

Economic analysis carried out as part of developing the bid found that the Teesside Freeport would create more than 18,000 skilled, good-quality well paid jobs over the next 5 years.

In developing the Teesside Freeport bid Mayor Houchen worked closely with all five local councils along with local businesses that rely on the River Tees, as well as those across the region.

The bid covers sites across the region, including Teesworks, Wilton International, Teesside International Airport, the Port of Middlesbrough, the Port of Hartlepool, Liberty Steel and LV Shipping. The site would cover approximately 4,500 acres the equivalent to 2550 football pitches. By spreading out the Freeport maximum benefit can be gained for the people of Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.

Watch our short explainer video of the Freeport bid below;


A map of the proposed Freeport zones is shown below and can also be downloaded here  Teesside Freeport Boundary

Background to the bid

In early 2019, the Mayor submitted a policy paper to Government championing a Freeport in Tees Valley, building on the recommendations of a 2016 policy paper by now Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak MP, forming part of a campaign which launched in 2018 and was backed by more than 50 leading employers in the area.

The consultation came following last year’s visit to the region by Liz Truss MP, Secretary of State for International Trade, when she announcement that a Freeports Commission would be established by Government to look at creating up to ten such zones across the UK.

In May 2020, Mayor Houchen took another step forward in securing a Freeport for the region with the finalisation of a submission to the Government’s consultation on Freeports. The formal response, covering customs, tax, planning, regeneration and policy considerations, makes the case for such a zone in the region, and Mayor Houchen continues to work with councils, stakeholders and businesses to lay out the benefits a Freeport would bring to Tees Valley.

The consultation submission was backed unanimously by the Combined Authority Cabinet.

In November the Government launched its Freeports bidding prospectus, inviting regions throughout the UK to make their case to play host to these economically competitive zones. The Mayor is now leading the Tees Valley’s formal bid for Freeport status.


To find out more about the Teesside Freeport bid and how you can be involved, please contact or call 01642 524400 and ask for our Invest Tees Valley Team