Vision for blue and green Great South West shared at Somerset event

David Ralph and Karl Tucker

More than 60 representatives from business, education, national and local Government gathered at Taunton on Wednesday 29 March, for the first in a series of regional launches.

The ambitious vision for the Great South West, the region’s Powerhouse Partnership, has been set out at a key event in Somerset. 

More than 60 representatives from business, education, national and local Government gathered at Taunton on Wednesday 29 March, for the first in a series of regional launches.

The Great South West is a Pan-Regional Partnership covering the counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset. It aims to promote the region’s ‘blue and green’ assets, as part of its ambition to become the ‘UK’s Natural Powerhouse’, and the first region to become net zero.

Karl Tucker, interim Chair of the Great South West, set out the vision and opportunities across the region, and how the South West can contribute to the Government’s top priorities, including increasing inward investment and exports, establishing the country as a science superpower, and transitioning to net zero.

Karl Tucker said: “It was great to be able to update a number of representatives from businesses, local authorities and local colleges on the progress we have made with establishing the Great South West Pan-Regional Partnership. The Great South West provides us with a fantastic opportunity as a region to promote and lobby for the investment required to deliver on our ambition to be the UK’s Natural Powerhouse, based upon our unique blue and green economy.  

“The Great South West is of significant relevance to the UK in helping to deliver against net zero targets, increase food security and resilience, and become the global leader in environmental science and innovation. We will be working with stakeholders to develop these propositions, and promote them to Government and other investors. To truly maximise these opportunities, we need crucial investment in our infrastructure, including the National Grid, roads and digital connectivity; in our future workforce development, from primary schools through to Further Education; and in creating more homes in the right places, to deliver affordable housing for the existing and future workforce.”

The Great South West’s current priorities around developing the region’s blue and green economy were highlighted as marine, energy, food, fishing and rural, high-value manufacturing, and trade and investment.

Major investment projects in Somerset were highlighted, including Leonardo Helicopters and Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, as key examples of attracting inward investment, and supporting the region’s future skills and clean growth.

Delegates included representatives from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, EDF Energy, Business West, Tech South West, British Business Bank, Gravity Smart Campus, Somerset Council, the West of England Aerospace Forum, the University of Exeter, the University of Plymouth, and the Federation of Small Businesses.

Future events are being planned across the region, to update businesses and other organisations on the Great South West’s emerging ambitions and priorities, and encourage people to get involved with the Partnership’s vision to become the country’s cleanest region. Details will be announced in due course.