Plymouth and South Devon Freeport
Plymouth and South Devon Freeport provides the opportunity to harness the region’s unique national capabilities in marine, defence and space, and join a globally impactful innovation cluster.
As Britain’s Ocean City, Plymouth has a natural harbour and direct deep-water access to the English Channel and Atlantic Ocean. The city and the surrounding local area are also ideally located for accessing European and global markets.
Plymouth and South Devon Freeport offers a range of incentives relating to customs, tax, planning, infrastructure, and innovation. See further details on the benefits of Freeports.
Tax benefits are available at the Freeport’s 3 tax sites, located at:
South Yard, the centrepiece of the Freeport’s innovation hotbed, offering industrial units and a mezzanine office space within a purpose-built innovation centre
Langage, providing a variety of industrial units focused on advanced manufacturing and logistics
Sherford, aimed at logistics purposes, providing warehousing, storage, and engineering space
Combined, the 3 sites create 88.3 hectares of land prime for innovation, investment and impact across the region.
(Green Shipping, Space, Maritime)
Sector and market opportunity
With a focus on marine, defence and space, Plymouth and South Devon Freeport harnesses the power of high-value manufacturing sectors to deliver clean growth and high-quality jobs for the future. It provides supply chain opportunities across the South West of England and beyond, embedding commitment to reach net zero and marine decarbonisation while generating new jobs and upskilling the local workforce.
The Plymouth and South Devon Freeport presents a unique investment offer in its ability to test, develop and manufacture target technologies.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) predicts that the ocean economy will double by 2030 to $3 trillion with growth opportunities in high value marine manufacturing, offshore renewables, aquaculture, and marine autonomy. The global marine autonomy market alone is predicted to grow to $136 billion over the next 15 years with the UK having a 10% market share. This, in addition to the opportunity presented by cleaning and digitising the marine sector, presents a rare economic opportunity for high-productivity growth at the Plymouth and South Devon Freeport.
Plymouth and South Devon’s Freeport provides an excellent gateway for the trade connecting businesses across the UK, Europe, and beyond.
South Yard is a 35 hectares site (of which 31.9 hectares is designated for the Freeport) at the southern edge of Devonport Dockyard with direct deep-water access. It is currently home to Oceansgate, the UK’s first marine enterprise zone, a world class hub for marine industries, as well as facilities owned by large players in the area, including Princess Yachts and the Ministry of Defence.
Langage is a 48.5 hectares tax site located on greenfield land. It incorporates a customs zone to provide industrial and manufacturing space for high value manufacturing and engineering companies, focusing primarily, but not exclusively, on the marine, defence and space sectors. £118 million in private investment will be used to build advanced manufacturing units and logistics facilities and a further £28 million to deliver a green hydrogen electrolyser plant. The site will also be home to a mobility hub to facilitate the delivery of critical sustainable and low carbon transport options.
Sherford employment zone is a logistics facility providing integrated warehousing, storage, and engineering space for a single marine/defence contractor. Located on the opposite side of the A38 Expressway to the Langage site, the Sherford Employment Zone forms part of the employment allocation of the Sherford new community.
Fly from 3 airports with local and international connections: Newquay Airport, Exeter Airport and Bristol Airport.
Plymouth’s principal access route from the east and the west is the A38 dual carriageway which runs through the city (the Devon Expressway). It connects to the M5 at Exeter for onward journeys, and into the heart of Cornwall to the west.
Plymouth is one of the few European ports with deep sea ocean access without being overly congested by shipping, alongside outstanding connections to Europe and global markets.
Local talent and skills
There are more than 19,000 students across defence and security, marine autonomy, and offshore renewable energy, and 5,000+ graduates in these same sectors.
Currently, there are 81,000+ employed in the above sectors and 98,000+ in skilled trades.
South of England
The region is home to 21 million people. It offers opportunities across a wide range of sectors from nuclear and aerospace, to life science and new technologies. There are vibrant clusters of expertise spanning 5G, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.
National government support
As specially designed areas with beneficial economic regulations, Freeports can help you achieve sustained growth, and may be able to save you time and money through:
- Stamp Duty Land Tax relief
- enhanced Capital Allowances for investment in plant & machinery and structures & buildings
- five years of Business Rates relief
- employer National Insurance contributions relief
Customs and Planning
- simplified customs procedure
- deferrals and exemptions from duty payments
- VAT suspension within customs sites
- supportive local planning environments with constructive public-private partnerships
- extensive public investment in skills and infrastructure
- access to the Freeport Regulation Engagement Network (FREN), enabling direct and early engagement between businesses, Freeports, and regulators
- access to the Freeport Innovation Network (FIN), a collaboration vehicle for Freeports to shape and organise their innovation activity as a collective
Success stories – Thales Maritime Autonomy Centre
In 2018, French multinational Thales opened its Maritime Autonomy Centre. This is an important new test and evaluation facility in Plymouth with access to both shallow and deep-water trials, enabling progressive testing to be done from sheltered bays to open sea.
Thales has also collaborated with offshore renewable energy experts in a robot team challenge as part of the MIMRee (Multi-Platform Maintenance, Inspection and Repair in Extreme Environments) project. The project is funded by Innovate UK under a £4 million grant and is set to develop the world’s first fully autonomous robotic inspection and repair solution for offshore wind farms.
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