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An Estuary For All Seasons

25th September 2020

As I look out across the river this morning, it’s autumn misty and calm. This is my favourite time of. Soft dawns and dusks, warm colours in the trees and a sense of everything quietening, calming for winter. A time when we regroup, restrengthen and get ready for a burst forward in spring. Except this year it feels different here in the Estuary…

We have had a great first (nearly a) year. With Government’s support and backing we have launched our brand (https://thamesestuary.org.uk), our Board (https://thamesestuary.org.uk/who-we-are/?tab=board) and our Plan (https://thamesestuary.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/TE_Action_Plan101.pdf). All key foundations for us to make sure we can deliver on our promise to get great stuff done. Although to be fair, it hasn’t just been a summer of planning or getting ready. We are already working with key schemes and partners across the Estuary to help (amongst other things) develop plans for a hydrogen ecosystem across the Estuary, to work out how we can really help make sure more people and freight are carried on the river, how we can improve access to the river for cyclists and walkers and how we can ensure we’ve got the right digital infrastructure in place to support businesses and communities. Digital connectivity has become so much more important to us all now in light of pandemic-altered ways of working.. And we are supporting Government’s approach to Freeports with our recently released statement(https://thamesestuary.org.uk/media-centre/). This is our Board using its collective might to send a clear message that any Freeport on our patch must benefit communities as well as economies across the Estuary.

But this autumn is also our time to be spring. (If that doesn’t sound too seasonally contradictory… OK, it does, but it’s true in this case so please bear with us!) We are ready to burst forward with a workplan that will share with you how we are going to invest in key schemes – in some instance really early stage feasibility investment and in other more developed schemes, investment to help them move towards delivery.

This is our time to co-invest with public, private and not for profit partners. To leverage new investment. And our time to set out for you what our targets are, how these will be measured and how – as part of this – we expect you to hold us to account.

And finally, it’s our time to raise our volume, raise our visibility and raise our hands to shout for things that we know need to happen. And which we will help make happen.

So, before you snuggle down with a hot chocolate and your winceyette pyjamas, pull your big sweater and wellies on, come down to the river and let’s take a deep breath of energy and passion, and start that build. Energy and passion not from those calm dawns and soft eves but from those wild red leaves, those wild winds and wild waters. ‘Season of mists and mello fruitfulness’? Nope. It’s time to crack on friends. See you on the riverbank…