Frequently Asked Questions

What is a UK Freeport?

UK Freeports (Green Freeports in Scotland) are special areas that have been created by the Government to increase investment in parts of the country that have historically missed out. They benefit from a generous package of tax and customs incentives, as well as excellent port infrastructure, and build on the proud industrial heritages of their regions.  

All of this enables UK Freeports to create an attractive business environment with the aim of rebalancing local economies by building new clusters (groupings) in industry sectors, supporting our journey to Net Zero, and creating thousands of high-quality jobs for local people.  

Any location in a UK Freeport is subject to the same laws and regulations as the rest of the country. 

Find out more about the UK Freeport Programme and where they are located on the UK Freeports website.  

How does the PASD Freeport benefit the local area?

Our Freeport is predicted to create over 3,500 quality jobs for the local economy. By helping to address the local skills gap with our local partners, we will maximise the likelihood that these vacancies are filled by local people living within the Freeport area.

Qualifying local start-ups and existing businesses wishing to grow will be able to do so in a competitive environment alongside businesses from further afield, including overseas, who want to establish a presence in our region. Our focus is on business growth, so businesses cannot relocate their existing operation into the Freeport – it really is all about new and growing businesses.

We also have £25m of UK Government funding, which has been matched locally by the public and private sectors, to invest in local infrastructure. This includes improving the continental ferry port at Millbay to support better connectivity with Europe and building a pedestrian/cycle bridge over the A38 dual carriageway to provide residents with an active travel link to two of our employment developments at Langage and Sherford.

Who owns the Plymouth and South Devon Freeport Company?

The PASD Freeport Company is wholly owned by the three Local Authority partners or ‘Members’ – Plymouth City Council, Devon County Council, and South Hams District Council. There is no private sector ownership of the Company whatsoever.

A set of ‘reserved matters’ were agreed by the Local Authority Members when the Company was set up. Decisions that relate to any of these matters must have the unanimous support of all three Local Authority partners.

Schedule 3 on pages 17 to 19 of the Members’ Agreement relating to the Plymouth and South Devon Freeport Limited lists the 41 ‘reserved matters’ that require unanimous Member approval –

The purpose of this is to ensure that big decisions, which could significantly affect the Freeport Company’s direction, structure, or financial health, are not made without the unanimous support of the three Local Authority Members.

Why does the Freeport Outer Boundary include Dartmoor National Park?

The UK Government required Freeport bidders to define an outer boundary in their original bid submission. The purpose of this was to establish a clearly defined space within which the benefits of the Freeport policy (e.g. jobs, skills, investment, and innovation) could be applied and measured. An area that includes many of the people and businesses most likely to experience these benefits was viewed as the best way to achieve this.

Plymouth and South Devon Freeport’s Outer Boundary is therefore the same as the Plymouth Housing Market Area (HMA). A HMA is a clearly defined space where patterns of demand for housing are monitored. Plymouth’s HMA existed before the Freeport and incorporates the Plymouth, South Hams, and West Devon Council areas. The Plymouth and South West Devon Joint Local Plan (JLP) provides a strategy for the management of economic growth and development within this area (

All three Tax Sites included in the PASD Freeport bid submission – South Yard, Langage and Sherford – were carefully selected by the local councils with the aim being to encourage investment and appropriate development. These sites are the economic engine of the Freeport and sit within our wider outer boundary which is the much larger area that is expected to benefit most from the Freeport. Tax Sites are strictly designated by HM Treasury and there cannot be more than three in number. Businesses can apply to HMRC for customs site authorisation if their premises are located within one of the three Tax Sites or Outer Boundary.

Importantly, the PASD Freeport Outer Boundary does not give any special planning or regulatory status and does not undermine the special status of protected landscapes such as Dartmoor National Park. The Local Authorities retain all their statutory powers and responsibilities, including responsibility for providing planning permission.

If you have any questions about the Plymouth and South Devon Freeport not covered within our FAQs please contact us by emailing