Million new homes, 1.3 million jobs outlined in ambitious UK plan
The Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission published a detailed report setting out an ambitious vision and delivery plan for a corridor along the river stretching from east London to north Kent and south Essex up to 2050.
The commission said the estuary could generate an additional $253 billion in Gross Value Added (GVA) and 1.3 million new jobs by 2050. It also estimates that at least 1 million new homes will be needed to support growth along the Thames corridor.
The commission said to unlock the area's untapped potential it proposes viewing the estuary as a series of interconnected but distinct productive places. It identifies 15 priority projects to deliver the vision.
Proposals would see a Great Thames Park to celebrate and maximize the value of the area's natural assets. Local councils in Kent and Essex would be empowered to deliver ambitious housing projects. It also included promoting use of the River Thames and enhancing the estuary's natural environment.
James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Communities, said: "The Thames Estuary has enormous untapped potential and we are determined to unlock this to drive both local and national economic growth. The commission has provided us with bold and ambitious set of recommendations."
Sir John Armitt, chair of the commission, said: "Without concerted action, there is a risk that the Thames Estuary will fail to achieve its potential, at huge opportunity cost to local communities and the national economy.
"The resounding message from the consultation that the commission has undertaken is that there is ambition in the Thames Estuary to deliver high-quality development and the best economic outcomes for people."
Armitt added that a "business as usual" approach will not deliver growth at scale and pace, saying governance reform and new delivery models are needed."
The government will now consider options for working with local partners to achieve long-term, sustainable growth in the Thames Estuary. ■