THE GOVERNMENT’S plan to create a global innovation powerhouse along the Oxford-Cambridge Arc is an opportunity to move the region closer to its vision of being a leading green economy, says the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership.
The Spatial Framework unveiled by ministers, along with the proposed Arc Growth Body, will put the corridor on the world stage and be a significant step towards the region becoming a leader in sustainability.
“Back in 2019 we talked about how a grand deal for the Arc could be to return land to wildlife in a way that also frames and complements new homes and workplaces,” said SEMLEP chair Peter Horrocks.
“This was the start of the ‘Green Arc’ conversation. And while the pandemic has been incredibly difficult for businesses and individuals alike, it has brought about a much greater appreciation of our local places, of nature.
“It has also accelerated the uptake of new ways of working and doing business that we can learn from and build on.”
SEMLEP chief executive Hilary Chipping said it had been working with government and other bodies across the Arc to highlight the area’s innovation activity.
“Our track record in commercialising technologies, our strong entrepreneurial culture and the highly attractive offer of our local towns and rural areas all contribute to economic success, enhancing people’s livelihoods, and resetting the economy,” she said.
“A spatial framework for the region, alongside a new ‘growth body’, will enable us to better identify and implement strategic infrastructure projects that are needed to support our sustainable growth ambitions.
“It will position the Arc firmly on an international platform and will give greater confidence and opportunity for investment.”
Mr Horrocks added: “We know that sustainability and productivity go hand in hand. Our area is fast growing and we need to update our infrastructure to support that.
“This is an opportunity to connect this region’s innovation and capabilities to create green, skilled jobs, work towards decarbonising our economies and improve the environment at the same time. Developing this framework brings opportunity to set higher ambitions and higher standards for growth, backed firmly by government.
“We look forward to working closely with local businesses, partners and communities so they have their say in planning and investing in sustainable growth for our area.”