South Gloucestershire Council has welcomed the publication of the region’s first ever Local Industrial Strategy, developed by the West of England Combined Authority and Local Enterprise Partnership and working with regional businesses and organisations, as well as central government.
We have worked closely with all our partners and stakeholders to support the development of the strategy, which is an important document that demonstrates the scale of our ambitions for clean and inclusive growth, building on the extraordinary quality of life we already offer in the West of England.
South Gloucestershire will be a key contributor in delivering this strategy. We provide a base for some of the most innovative and productive businesses in the country in our three Enterprise Areas and this strength has been recognised in the document.
South Gloucestershire has a growing culture of innovation, particularly across the North Fringe from the Filton Enterprise Area; to the University of the West of England at Frenchay; and to the Bristol and Bath Science Park at Emersons Green. Across this cluster alone we can boast:
- World-leading technology in aerospace, defence and engineering
- The Wing of the Future Project (Airbus)
- The site for GKN Aerospace’s new Global Technology Centre
- Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) – the most comprehensive academic centre for multi-disciplinary robotics research in the UK
- Open Bionics – Creators of the ‘Hero Arm’ providing affordable bionic prosthetics
- Institute for Advanced Automatic Propulsions Systems – supporting the delivery of future generations of clean and efficient vehicles as well as being a global leader in graduate automotive education
- The National Composites Centre – an advanced design and manufacture facility.
We are working with the West of England Combined Authority to invest in transport and infrastructure to support this innovation cluster, notably:
- The Cribbs Patchway Metrobus Extension
- A new world-leading digital research and development network, which will link UWE with the Bristol and Bath Science Park via a dedicated, ultra-high-speed fibre link
- Metrowest 2, which will provide a new rail station at Filton North and a package of enhanced rail services.
The Local Industrial Strategy is also about recognising places and communities where access to skills and employment is constrained by a mixture of infrastructure and economic challenges. We welcome the commitment to inclusive growth and to developing the interventions for these places, bringing new activity to our high streets, extending our business support services, developing new programmes for adult skills, providing access to further education and access to careers advice.
Under-pinning all of this is a commitment to clean growth and the launch of this document follows South Gloucestershire Council’s declaration of a Climate Change Emergency. Our ambitions for innovation and clean growth are aligning already. The Council is supporting a couple of consortiums in high profile driverless car developments and our global-leaders in aerospace are developing low carbon electric technology for the future of the industry.
The Local Industrial Strategy is fundamentally about enhancing the regional economy and ensuring that the West of England retains its status as the leading regional contributor to the national economy outside of London. It is not an exhaustive list of projects and objectives, but identifies some critical strategic priorities, which the Government have agreed are clearly supported by an extensive evidence base.
Leader of South Gloucestershire Council, Toby Savage, said: “I am delighted to see the Government’s acknowledgement of the importance of the West of England to the national economy. This document identifies some dynamic, innovative clusters of industry, several of which are an integral part of the South Gloucestershire economy and our three significant enterprise areas.
“It also recognises some of our key challenges, such as access to the right skills and the causes of the skills gaps. We face a particular threat in South Gloucestershire from low schools funding and below-par school attainment, and although this is improving there’s more that can and should be done.
“The Local Industrial Strategy sets out a fervent ambition to grow our economy and to be innovative in industry and the deployment of new technology to support the lives of local people. I hope it will help us to continue to work with the new Government to provide the inspiration for the next generation of learners.”