Partnership pays dividends for prospective fusion power project

Ian Mean
Director of Business West Gloucestershire | Business West
16th June 2021

Partnership working in business really does pay dividends, but I am afraid it’s often lacking between our councils here in Gloucestershire.

But I have to eat my words about a partnership of councils which has led to what could be a huge boost to our regional economy.

I am talking about the Severn Edge bid led by the Western Gateway to develop an initial £220 million prototype fusion energy plant here.

The bid passed its first hurdle at the end of last week.

It could be built at Berkeley in Gloucestershire and at nearby Oldbury in South Gloucestershire.

Both of these are former, nuclear sites, of course, and if successful our bid could lead to thousands of highly skilled jobs.

The support we have had from our local district councils and our county and regional MPs has been brilliantly supportive over the last year.

I think Katherine Bennett, chair of the Western Gateway succinctly hit the nail on the head about this partnership of councils, the nuclear industry and academia, when she wrote in her foreword to the bid to the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA):

“We have built a powerful alliance.

“Behind this nomination stand: Western Gateway; Nuclear South West; South Gloucestershire County Council; Gloucestershire County Council; Stroud District Council; SGS College Group; West of England Combined Authority Group; West of England Local Enterprise Partnership; GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership; Business West and the South West Nuclear Hub.

“The landowners Horizon Nuclear Power and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority have authorised the submission their land and there is already a groundswell of both political and community support.”

Long winded this may seem, but it is an important list of supporters who have come together and taken the first steps for the South West to host this hugely innovative project.

Business West are proud to have been involved in the bid through Nuclear South West, the industry body we help to drive.

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