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First chair of Solent Freeport

First Chair of the Solent Freeport announced

Brian Johnson has been formally appointed to the role of Chair of the Solent Freeport for the next three years following a Government approved open recruitment process.

Speaking about his appointment, Brian said: “I’m delighted to be taking on the role of Chair of the Solent Freeport at this exciting time. We have recently reached an important milestone with Government approval of the Outline Business Case, the result of a successful collaboration of partners across the region – private sector organisations, local councils and universities, and I really am delighted to see the outcome of what can be achieved by working together.

“The Solent Freeport will bring enormous benefits to businesses and our local communities, offering opportunities for our young people and providing a centre of excellence in green skills and jobs.”

The Solent Freeport was one of eight in England to be granted Freeport status in March 2021. Following approval of the Outline Business Case, the designation of tax sites within the Freeport is underway and the Full Business Case will be submitted for Government approval in the coming weeks.

Brian has stepped down as Chair of the Solent LEP to take on the role of the Chair of the Solent Freeport. He said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as Chair of the Solent LEP and being part of the team which brought together partner organisations to produce a combined, regional bid for the Solent Freeport. The Solent Freeport is a once-in-a-generation opportunity – it will unlock billions of pounds’ worth of investment, create tens of thousands of new jobs and level up our important coastal communities. It will play a key role in the Government’s levelling up ambitions, not only in the Solent but across the UK, and set us on the path to economic recovery following the pandemic.”

New Solent LEP Chair, Rachael Randall, said: “I am very much looking forward to taking on the role and helping further cement the Solent’s trajectory of long-term growth while supporting the Government’s Levelling Up ambitions. Brian leaves the LEP in a very strong position after 8 years of exceptional service and we look forward to continuing to work closely with him in his new role as Solent Freeport Chair.”