News article

Brexit: Consultation on future UK freeport policy

8 April 2020

Views sought on government plans for UK freeport zones with different custom rules

The UK left the European Union on 31 January 2020.  From 1 January 2021, businesses will need to plan for new customs arrangements.

As part of this preparation, the government aims to create up to 10 freeports in locations across the UK.  Freeports, also called free trade zones, allow businesses to import goods and then re-export them outside the normal tax and customs rules followed by the rest of the country.

The government has the following objectives for UK freeports:

  • establish freeports as national hubs for global trade and investment across the UK
  • promote regeneration and job creation
  • create hotbeds for innovation

The government has drawn on evidence from freeports around the world to develop a UK freeport model. The proposed model includes tariff flexibility, customs facilitation and tax measures. They are also considering planning reforms, additional targeted funding for infrastructure improvements and measures to incentivise innovation.

Formal consultation

To support this work, GOV.UK is running a formal consultation to understand your thoughts on the UK’s plans for freeports. The aim is to feed your views into the policy development process.

The government intend to work with devolved administrations to develop proposals to allow freeports to be created in Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales.

New deadline for submissions

This consultation was published on 10 February. It was due to close on 20 April. The government recognises that many sectors with an interest in this policy are affected by coronavirus (COVID-19). In order to give all stakeholders time to submit their views the consultation has been extended. The closing date is now 13 July 2020.

Access the Freeports Consultation document.

You can respond online or in writing to:

Freeports Team, Area D, Floor 5,
Department for International Trade,
3 Whitehall Place,

For any further queries on guidance or accessibility, please email