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The year that was 2021 – Summer review

15th December 2021

This summer we celebrated our first year anniversary and launched our Green Blue workplan that outlines how we will deliver our ambitions and generate investment for the region.

Although we are a new Growth Board, we have achieved a huge amount. From recruiting members to the Board, to challenging ourselves on what we do and don’t do; from building relationships to making ourselves known to others and working in partnership with others across the region to make sure the changes that happen are the best for communities’ businesses and the environment we’ve achieved a lot.

I am very proud of what we achieved this first year (but if you know me, you’ll know I won’t stop. I’m getting started!)

Across the Estuary projects and partners had good news to share between July and September 2021 too.

Our first year anniversary – July

In July, coinciding with our first year anniversary, we launched our Green Blue Workplan that sets out how we will deliver the vision outlined in the Green Blue Action Plan which we published in summer 2020.

The documents are called “Green Blue” because we are creating good, green, sustainable growth using the important, blue waterway of the Thames that connects the UK with the rest of the world. Our vision and work will deliver and support existing projects which will lead to job creation; housing solutions; new transport and digital infrastructure, ultimately contributing billions to the economy by 2050.

Elsewhere in the Estuary:

  • People were again being urged to take part in the second phase of the C2E consultation, to help shape exciting plans for improved, fast public transport services connecting Ebbsfleet, Dartford, Slade Green, Erith and Belvedere with Abbey Wood.

The Green Blue Workplan cover July 2021

Announcing our intention to be part of UK hydrogen strategy – August

In August 2021 we made it clear that the Thames Estuary is ready to become a major player in the Government’s plans to kick-start the UK’s hydrogen economy. Responding to the launch of the UK Hydrogen Strategy, we promised to share our Hydrogen Route Map that would identify the case for an Estuary hydrogen ecosystem and the significant contribution it could make to national hydrogen ambitions.

In the Estuary:

Celebrating the Thames Freeport commercial launch – September

The Thames Freeport celebrated its commercial launch. Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, was joined by Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, and freeport partners, at the official commercial opening of the Thames Freeport at the Savoy Hotel.

Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP announces Thames Freeport commercial launch

Before joining the launch, my very brilliant Deputy Chair and Thames Estuary Growth Board Joint Lead for Freeports, Perry Glading, spoke to the BBC’s Jason Rosam about what the Freeport means for businesses, communities and green, growth across the Estuary.

Other interesting news in the Estuary included:

Research found a positive association between creative workspace and residential  property values. 4.4% per annum outperformances during a 10-year period in London and 3.3% per annum during a 5-year period in the Thames Estuary #CreativePlaceCreateValueEstuary Visionaries

Our free Estuary Visionaries scheme was joined by more excellent businesses that are taking steps to be greener:

  • Mykor is a really exciting new biotechnology and design company based in Kent that makes a carbon-negative material with thousands of potential uses replacing plastics it can be used in building insulation to furniture and home décor.
  • Chatha Hygiene, a family-run company based in Rochester, Kent, they provide professional washroom and hygiene services to all size businesses around the South East and always look for ways to be greener.

    CAMA sustainable storage services

  • CAMA is a family run company based in Dagenham Docks that is leading the way with digitally managed sustainable storage and are helping top UK and US film and TV production companies and small independents keep on top of their inventories and significantly reduce waste.
  • Playopolis Café, in Rochester, is a welcoming space for everyone, where you can enjoy something to eat and drink while you play unusual or well-known board games from the café’s extensive inhouse collection. Since opening 5 years ago Playoplolis Café has always sought to be as environmentally friendly and sustainable as possible.
  • Attract & Engage is a growth marketing and PR agency based in Essex that helps ambitious clients drive social and help sustainable businesses move from wanting to make a difference environmentally, to action and results.

While we make this the greenest Estuary in the world, there are businesses in all kinds of sectors already committed to being greener. You can find out more and nominate businesses in the Estuary that are doing things in a more sustainable way here:

Chatha Hygiene is one of the businesses that makes efforts to be more sustainable, and has joined the Estuary Visionaries scheme.

Chatha Hygiene is one of the Estuary Visionary businesses taking steps to be more environmentally friendly.

Summer summary

When we launched our vision ‘the Green Blue’ action plan in June 2020 I was adamant we would get stuff that needed doing done. It is also key that we don’t duplicate work and I am delighted to be working with such fantastic public and private sector partners here in the Estuary. Together we will get the best for people, business and the environment here.

As summer turned to autumn, we turned the (clean-fuelled) heat up as I will reveal in my last post looking back at the year that was 2021.