Strategy sets its sights on economic growth in East

The East of England could have a world-beating economy and lead a green revolution, under plans laid out by the region's development agency. But the prize can only be achieved by people working smarter, by the harnessing of new technology, and by greater cooperation between the public and private sector.

The East of England could have a world-beating economy and lead a green revolution, under plans laid out by the region's development agency.

But the prize can only be achieved by people working smarter, by the harnessing of new technology, and by greater cooperation between the public and private sector.

The East of England Development Agency has set out its vision for the future in a 164 page Draft Regional Economic Strategy which is a blueprint for the region's economy between now and 2030.

Its vision is to create “an ideas driven region, that is internationally competitive, harnesses the talents of all and that is at the forefront of the low carbon economy.”


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Its main aims are to increase the numbers of people in employment and raise the Gross Value Added figure per person. The GVA is the income and production of each person in the region.

The East of England figure stood at £18,900 in 2005, which was ahead of the UK average of £17,700, but behind best performing regions London and the South East.

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The third priority is to reduce the levels of CO2 emissions from the region's homes and businesses.

EEDA's strategy calls for more innovation to improve productivity, with a better use of science and technology, and a creation of a culture of creativity starting with schools and colleges.

It is also looking to create more “next-generation” science parks, including the Norwich Research Park, and wants to introduce measures to ensure businesses take advantage of the latest ICT systems.

EEDA also believes the region must capitalise on its expertise in renewable energy, through the expansion of projects such as Cred at the UEA and through the development of biofuels.

It also calls for a “positive planning process” to grant permission for more wind turbines both on and offshore and the building of more biofuel production facilities. The strategy also argues for an increase in micro-generation electricity projects led by the public sector.

Much of the focus of the region's economic development will be on the greater Norwich area - which EEDA classifies as one of seven “engines for growth”.

Here it calls for a “bold visionary strategy for the area led by the local authorities” and says it wants to strengthen Norwich as a leading medium-sized science city and an internationally renowned low-carbon city.

Richard Ellis, chairman of EEDA, said: “The new draft Regional Economic Strategy highlights key issues and priorities for the future prosperity of the East of England and the quality of life of the people who visit or live or work in the region.

“I hope that the consultation will stimulate a lively and informed debate and I would encourage all those with a knowledge and interest in the issues to have their say. The East of England can only succeed in bringing about long-term, sustainable economic development if we work together to achieve common goals.”

The online version of the draft strategy can be found at www.eeda.org.uk/resreview.

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