Enterprise zone targets ‘green’ energy firms

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Civic and business leaders have agreed a plan that could help attract more “green” energy companies to the Humber.

A deal was reached at the first meeting of the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership on what land on both sides of the estuary will form part of an Enterprise Zone.

It includes the site at Alexandra Dock in Hull which Siemens has earmarked for a wind turbine factory, Queen Elizabeth Dock and the southern end of the Able marine energy park at Killingholme on the South Bank.

When the policy was first run in the 1980s few Enterprise Zones lived up to expectations, businesses simply moving from one area to another to enjoy the tax break. However, Richard Kendall, from Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce, said they were confident because of their bid’s “clear strategic focus.”

He said: “This is about attracting new companies to the UK, not displacing them from other areas.”

Bids for Enterprise Zones have to be submitted to the Government by the deadline next Thursday. If approved the area should prove attractive to business because of tax breaks and simplified planning rules.

At more than 900 acres in total, the amount of land outstrips the recommended maximum of 370 acres, but Mr Kendall said it only involved four equipment manufacturers including Siemens, reducing the overall cost to the Government. They expect the rest of the land to be taken up by supply chain companies.

He said: “We have to look at what is deliverable by the April 2015 cut-off. We think we can deliver four by then.”

Chairman of the LEP John Clugston said the meeting of the interim board, made up of four councils, Hull, East Riding, North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire and nine business leaders, including Hull port director Matt Dukes and Richard Adams from Tata Steel, had been “very productive.”

He said: “We made this important decision without having any arguments. We are all united behind this.”