FREEPORT East has appointed a new boss to lead innovation and help tackle local challenges in Harwich and Felixstowe.

Steven Wilson has been named as head of innovation at the freeport, which is based around Harwich and Felixstowe's ports.

The Government announced in 2021 that the towns would become a freeport, which means the area will benefit from tax reliefs and simplified customs procedures 

It is aimed at encouraging economic activity, which is seen as a means of boosting global trade following Brexit, as well as creating thousands of jobs.

The freeport received its final approval from the Government last month and will now receive up to £25 million seed funding.

Mr Wilson will lead the freeports engagement with universities, colleges, research and development centres, large and small businesses and a range of public and private funders and investors to ensure that Freeport East builds an "innovation cluster" that supports local businesses and communities.

Steven Wilson is a fellow of the Institute of Economic Development and previously served as had of innovation for the East of England Development Agency (EEDA).

He said: “Having lived in the East of England for over 15 years, I have worked in multiple roles to promote it as a national and international hotbed of innovation.

"This role is a fantastic opportunity to extend that strong advocacy into the exciting new technologies, products and services that will make Freeport East a Global Freeport for a Global Britain.”

Steve Beel, chief executive of Freeport East, said: “Freeport East is delighted to have been able to attract someone of Steven’s calibre and experience.

"He will bring immense passion and dedication to delivering on our ambitions.

“Innovation really is the beating heart of our vision for Freeport East.

"Ranging from our Green Hydrogen Hub through to use of advanced digital technologies in port operations, we want the area to be known for innovative, ground-breaking companies, technologies and services that help tackle both global and local challenges."

The proposals for developing Freeport East include developing Harwich's Bathside Bay as a tax and customs site.