NORTH-East businesses and industry are being urged to have their say on the Freeport bid being developed for the region, whether or not they depend on the River Tees.

The appeal comes following last week's announcement that the Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen is spearheading a comprehensive bid for a Freeport in the Tees Valley.

As part of the process of developing the bid, Mayor Houchen will consult with industrial and other businesses over the coming weeks.

On a visit to the region last year International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said the region was “ahead of the game” to become one of the accepted bids for a Freeport and there was a “huge appetite” for the concept on Teesside.

Mayor Houchen said: “When I started out on this journey to bring Freeports to the UK, many thought it couldn’t be done, that the government of the time was against the idea and that no Government would make such a seismic change in customs and trade policy.

"Then we voted to leave the EU and had a Prime Minister who was a full-throated supporter of free trade and Freeports, who recognised the advantages such free trade zones could bring to areas such as Teesside."

Businesses have until December 18 to send their feedback on the Mayor’s Freeport plans by emailing