Tech and net zero will help drive new sustainable growth blueprint for Western ‘super-region’

March 21, 2024

Harnessing the potential of the West of England in areas such as cyber, tech and net zero will underpin a new pan-regional plan for sustainable growth to be launched this summer.

The economic blueprint will form the basis of a conference led by the Western Gateway, the partnership covering an area stretching from Swindon to Swansea via Bristol.

The event, on 5 July at the ICC Wales conference centre in Newport, will bring together hundreds of businesses, academics, government and local leaders from across the UK to discuss how to develop an economy fit for the future.

It will also highlight the potential of Western England and South Wales to lead the way globally in creating sustainable economic growth.

The Plan for Sustainable Growth launched at the conference will lay out how the super-region can lead the way in the UK creating new opportunities and powering a national effort to reach net zero.

Among the topics to be discussed will be:

  • Cyber and technology – how can the regions’ innovation be taken to the next level?
  • Net zero – how can it ensure that low carbon energy powers its ambitions?
  • Connectivity – what can the regions do to improve transport to transform access to opportunity? 
  • Finance – how can more investment be brought to the regions?
  • Nature –  how can the natural habitats be enhanced for future generations while creating sustainable economic growth?

The Western Gateway, the UK’s first partnership to bring together a coalition of cross-party leaders from across two countries, was set up by the government in 2019 and brings together businesses and universities alongside 28 local authorities to work together to achieve more for South Wales and Western England.

Since its launch it has spearheaded a vision for a better rail network, created the UK’s first hydrogen ecosystem, brought investment into nuclear energy, and launched an independent commission to explore the potential for a world-leading tidal project in the Severn Estuary.

Western Gateway Partnership vice chair Jane Mudd, who is also leader of Newport Council, said: “With a highly skilled workforce, world leading innovation and a centre for major industry, our area has huge potential to deliver for the UK economy with a key role to play in ensuring we create the growth our country needs.

“For too long the conversation in the UK has been focused on a North and South divide.

“We are ready to make the case for why South Wales and Western England will be key to ensuring the UK can build on success to generate the opportunities our economy needs to create real sustainable growth.”

Among the politicians invited to speak at the conference are Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove, Labour deputy leader and Shadow Levelling Up Secretary Angela Rayner and Vaughan Gething, newly elected Welsh First Minister.

An early bird offer on tickets for the event is available until 20 April.  For full details click here

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