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Investment plan to transform Thames Gateway

16 September 2008


Thames gway economic dment inv plan

A new Economic Development Investment Plan was launched today by the three Regional Development Agencies in the South East of England to transform the Thames Gateway into a thriving business, research and innovation hub and a vibrant place to live.

The investment programme was unveiled by the London Development Agency, East of England Development Agency and South East England Development Agency in partnership with the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Building on existing investment in and around the Gateway, the programme will help underpin a growing knowledge economy in the Thames Gateway with higher value jobs and help build a more productive and competitive region. At the same time it will help people in the local communities benefit from new work opportunities.

Most jobs will be created at four locations where major development is planned -Stratford and Lower Lea Valley, Canary Wharf, Ebbsfleet Valley and London Gateway. Major sectors of long term growth will include business and financial services, ports and logistics and environmental technologies. The programme reinforces those themes which will be essential to the area's future success and long term environmental and economic sustainability.

Housing Minister Caroline Flint said:

"I welcome the commitment of the three Greater South East Regional Development Agencies to work with the Government towards a shared vision of the Thames Gateway. The Economic Development Investment Plan will enable the delivery of a knowledge-driven, well connected, globally competitive region. It also demonstrates how economic growth and environmental sustainability can work together."

"The investments in the Economic Development Investment Plan will build on the considerable investment that has already taken place and ensure the Thames Gateway is in the best possible position to enable further growth."

London Development Agency chair Harvey McGrath said:

"The Thames Gateway is the UK's largest growth area and the most significant area for development in the whole of Europe. It is vital that we get that development right and that we effectively tap into that huge potential. If we do get it right the Gateway could boost the UK economy by around £12 billion, so it is essential that all the regional development agencies around the Gateway work together to achieve the best outcome for businesses, residents and the rest of the UK."

Richard Ellis, chair of the East of England Development Agency, said:

"We are already well on the way to bringing about a major transformation of the Thames Gateway - we and our partners are already delivering many programmes to boost business, increase the skills of local people and improve local communities. The new investment plan is a long-term vision for change which with backing from across the public sector will deliver real economic results to UK plc."

The programme has more than 30 areas of investment. It includes setting up a new joint inward investment service to coordinate activities with existing delivery partners in the Thames Gateway. This will help build confidence in the region for international investors and businesses, creating high value jobs and skills opportunities that support growth in the UK economy and affirm London and the Greater South East as the key European business location. The three regional development agencies will also seek to lever in additional investment into the Gateway from other public and private sector bodies.

The programme will also develop the region's environmental research and innovation capacity, enhancing its status as the UK's first eco region. This will be principally through a Thames Gateway Institute for Sustainability, in partnership with the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation and internationally renowned university and business partners. The Institute for Sustainability will help place the UK at the helm of environmental and sustainable developments, technologies and industries with sites across the Gateway at Dagenham Dock, at Kent Thameside and in South Essex. These include:

  • At Dagenham Dock, in the Sustainable Industries Park - a research and development centre focusing on sustainable construction, renewable energy, waste, recycling and reuse;
  • In Dartford, Kent - a research and development centre for integrated resource management for low impact buildings and low impact communities;
  • A Bio-Renewable Energy Research Park in South Essex - a research and development centre leading on new, sustainable bio-energy technologies for electricity, heat and transport fuel.

Jim Brathwaite, chair of South East England Development Agency, said:

"The Institute for Sustainability will be a development of international significance with close links to China. It will help us deliver the Thames Gateway eco region and help build the Gateway as a location for globally important research and practical demonstration, driving environmental innovation and enterprise."

Arup Director Peter Head has been appointed to be the champion for innovation and enterprise in the Thames Gateway. Peter Head leads Arup's Planning and Integrated Urbanism business and is well known nationally and internationally as an expert in environmental development. He will help develop close links between the Thames Gateway Institute for Sustainability and other, similarly focused Institutes being developed around the world, including a sister Institute for Sustainability in Shanghai. His role will be to ensure that the area is at the forefront of developing new environmental technologies, products and services to help it become the UK's first eco-region and the first choice for investment by businesses, especially those with an environmental focus.

The plan also includes environmental measures such as an extensive retro-fitting programme for existing buildings in the Gateway to improve their energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.

Related link -

Thames Gateway Economic Development Investment Plan.

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