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Growth plan launched for Thames Estuary

Words: Laura Edgar

The Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission has been launched in an attempt to boost productivity, attract and retain skilled workers and capitalise on major infrastructure works.

Lord Heseltine will chair the commission, launched at an event at the Queen Elizabeth II Park.

Featuring experts from across business and government, the commission will consult with businesses and other organisations before submitting its plans to the chancellor ahead of the Autumn Statement 2017.

The government and private investors are already investing in the Thames Estuary’s growth, including £300 million for the development of new homes and jobs at Ebbsfleet.

In Budget 2016, then-chancellor George Osborne announced that the commission would be formed to further investment.

According to the government, the commission’s initial work will focus on six areas:

  1. Creating high-productivity clusters

  2. Increasing connectivity

  3. Creating new homes and communities

  4. Securing investment

  5. Harnessing innovation in the built environment

  6. Putting it together: Centres of excellence

The commission will take account of major projects and current industry planning processes involving a range of organisations, said the government. These include Highways England, Network Rail and Transport for London.

Lord Heseltine said: “This government is determined to ensure every part of the country benefits from a growing economy and all the evidence suggests that the Thames Estuary has incredible economic potential.

“This commission presents a wonderful opportunity, not only to make the most of plans already afoot, but to look beyond that and forge ahead with a vision to unleash growth for decades to come.”

Heseltine urged interested parties to come forward with their ideas.

Image credit | iStock