THE LANCASHIRE enterprise zone, which will create up to 6,000 new jobs, could be operational from early 2014.

A masterplan of the 146 hectare zone, across the Warton and Samlesbury sites of BAE Systems , will be unveiled before the end of the year, with work starting on site in 2013.

Enterprise zones are a government initiative to promote business growth across the country. The areas offer tax benefits.

The Samlesbury site will open up 72 hectares of space over the next 20-25 years. A further 74 hectares will be available at Warton.

The enterprise zone is being spearheaded by the County Council, the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership and BAE Systems. David Baird, BAE’s enterprise zone programme manager, said: “We looked at areas of the site we no longer have a need for. We will initially develop smaller parcels of land and more will become available as it is needed.”

Philip Holsall, chief executive of Lancashire County Council, said: “It’s not for businesses looking to simply relocate, it is for new businesses and those who can’t expand any further on their current sites.

“The enterprise zone will create up to 6,000 jobs over the next 10-15 years. For every one of these employees, others will benefit from spending in the area.”

Work is due to start next year and the first business is expected by the start of 2014.