THE first meeting of the newly-formed freeports panel has been held - with Carlisle's airport among those expressing interest in the idea.

International trade secretary Liz Truss led a meeting of the Advisory Panel on Freeports on Thursday in London, to discuss the objectives of UK freeport policy and to advise the government on the future design and operation of freeports in the UK.

Last week Stobart Group and Carlisle MP John Stevenson wrote to the Government, saying they think the freeport model could be a success because of the large amount of land surrounding the airport, north of Carlisle, Stobart Group’s experience and the airport’s strong transport links.

Ports, airports and other interested parties from across the UK will soon be invited to bid for freeport status.

The first new freeports will be established after the UK leaves the EU, say the Department for International Trade.