Thames Estuary will “unleash growth for decades to come,” says Heseltine

"The Thames Estuary has incredible economic potential" - Lord Heseltine.

The Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission and plan for growth was launched today, a much-anticipated reveal after Lord Heseltine’s appointment as commission lead in the 2016 budget.

The area designated as Thames Estuary officially runs for 40 miles, with a population of over three million, covering not only Canary Wharf in London but extending to Southend in Essex and Thanet in Kent. While there are already significant investments being made by public and private investors, the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission was set up in March to look at how to make the most of present and future opportunities and create the infrastructure to accelerate growth.

Speaking at the launch today, 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. “We have brought together world-leading industry experts and would urge others with an interest in the region and good ideas to come forward and contribute,” Heseltine said.

"All the evidence suggests that the Thames Estuary has incredible economic potential."
- Lord Heseltine

Comprising a team of 17 globally renowned experts, the commission will consult with stakeholders and take into account currently existing or approved infrastructure as well as investments. A consultation is open to participation until 9 September, with the objective of submitting plans to the chancellor for the 2017 Autumn Statement.

Current investments that are being made by both public and private investors include £1.5 billion in private funding towards the London Gateway Port estimated to create 42,000 direct and indirect jobs, £300 million for new homes and jobs at the garden city Ebbsfleet, Southend Airport expansion, and the Lower Thames Crossing.

The main work streams of the commission are focused on creating high productivity clusters and new communities complete with new homes, increasing connectivity, securing investments, fostering innovation within the built environment, and of course, pulling this all together through centres of excellence.

The commission is looking to make the most of all the activities and initiatives within the Thames Estuary area, making sure that all components are brought to their maximum positive yield potential, to ultimately create not just an economically sustainable community but one with continual growth.

To make sure you have a voice in the consultation, click here for the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission: call for ideas. The deadline for submission is 9 September 2016.