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Showcasing the Thames Estuary at UKREiiF

7th June 2022

“Showcasing the Thames Estuary to a national and international audience at UKREiiF was important for raising the profile of the region. The Thames Estuary is the UK’s number one Government-backed growth opportunity, and people need to know. We are committed to unlocking the region’s potential through good, green growth and ensuring that this growth benefits people and businesses across the Estuary. This will help Level Up the region and redress social inequalities within it. Championing the region at events like this will help us reach the right people to get great stuff done.” Kate Willard OBE, Chair and Estuary Envoy

A cross-sector partnership of organisations championed the Thames Estuary region at the UK’s biggest built environment event, held in Leeds between 17 and 19 May 2022.

The Thames Estuary Growth Board, Thames Freeport and Creative Estuary attended UKREiiF, the UK’s flagship built environment event in May to present the region and its wealth of investment opportunities to an international audience.

Presenting the Estuary’s wealth of investment opportunities

During the three-day event in Leeds, the Growth Board team pitched the investment opportunities in the Thames Estuary, the UK’s number one government-backed growth opportunity that has the potential to create over 1.3m jobs and £1.9bn GVA by 2050.

Engaging with an attendance of around 4,500  investors, developers and partners, the event was the first showing of the region’s inaugural ‘pitchbook’ comprising key investment opportunities in the Thames Estuary.

With plans to evolve, the online pitchbook outlines how the Board works as a partner with investors. It comprises current and emerging investment opportunities around hydrogen and waterborne light freight, and the Thames Freeport as well as those in the creative sector led by partners at Creative Estuary and the Thames Estuary Production Corridor.

⇒Discover the investment opportunities and how the Growth Board works with investors.

Open to working together

As well as working with partners within the region, the Growth Board recognise that investment opportunities may be more compelling across a wider geography and in collaboration with other growth regions.

Kate Willard OBE, Chair of the Thames Estuary Growth Board and Estuary Envoy explained “The opportunities in the Estuary are wide ranging and exciting, which is why we are UK’s number one Government-backed growth region. Within the Estuary we understand the power of working together and we are open to developing even more investor-friendly opportunities with other regions in the UK. Supporting each other will help everyone achieve growth more quickly for people across the country.

“Naturally we also need to celebrate the differences across regions, and this is why we and our partners from Creative Estuary and Thames Freeport are showcasing what exactly makes the Thames Estuary a unique place. We’re in a good place for investment. Join us.”

Levelling up a region perceived to be levelled up

Alongside other major regions in the UK, the event bought together investors, developers, businesses, government and third sector stakeholders with around 4,500 delegates from across the UK and the world, to discuss topical issues including net zero, levelling up, diversity and sustainability in the built environment context.

Representing the Growth Board, Lyn Carpenter, CEO of Thurrock Council, summarised the crucial need for investment to benefit communities across the Estuary and the value of collaboration, saying: “If Levelling Up was easy we’d have done it generations ago…. It’s a complex issue and we have different pressures locally, regionally and nationally. We need to have this conversation together in one place with Government. We need a collective, collaborative approach so we can make a long lasting and holistic change…because at the heart of this agenda are the catastrophic consequences for our communities…”

Achieving net zero

Speaking about reaching net-zero, Kate Willard OBE reiterated the importance of understanding that a one-size fits all approach to good green growth won’t work.

Kate said “It’s about pulling all the levers to enable change but we need to listen more to what’s needed and acknowledge that the journey won’t look the same for every individual, every community, or every organisation.”

Showing the world the best of the region’s businesses

The Thames Estuary is a region of huge opportunity and boasts many fantastic businesses who are leading examples of good green growth. Key delegates, investors and private and public sector decision makers at UKREiiF were introduced to some of the environmentally friendly products available from Thames Estuary Visionary businesses. This included soap from the multi-award winning Kentish Soap Company, and coffee and chocolate from upcoming Visionary businesses Little Fin Coffee and Curious Cocoa.

The Estuary Visionaries scheme is free to join and applications are welcomed from a diverse range of companies based within the Estuary who demonstrate sustainable growth.

⇒Find out more about  our free Estuary Visionaries scheme and apply or nominate a sustainable business in the region to join.

Connected by water

The Thames Estuary Growth Board are incredibly happy to have had the support of Leeds-based not-for-profit, Canal Connections and their many wonderful volunteers, who renovated the Michael Hayes boat for the event.

We will be attending UKREiiF 2023 and already have some big plans in motion – so keep an eye out here for more information.