Chancellor George Osborne announced in the Autumn Statement and Spending Review that Hertfordshire is one of 18 areas in England to bid successfully for a new Enterprise Zone out of 53 applications from Local Enterprise Partnerships.
In a letter to LEP chair John Gourd, James Wharton, Minister for Local Growth and the Northern Powerhouse, said:
"The application process was extremely competitive and your success is a great reflection of the strength of your proposal."
Hertfordshire LEP, along with St Albans City and District Council and Dacorum Borough Council, submitted its bid this summer. They were supported by St Albans MP Anne Main, Vicky Ford MEP, the Rt Hon Mike Penning, MP for Hemel Hempstead and the Rt Hon Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden.
Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning said:
“I am delighted that the Enterprise Zone bid has been successful. This will be a tremendous boost for the local economy attracting new businesses and start-ups. Maylands is ideally placed with its easy access to the M1 and also the A414 for access to BRE, Rothamsted and the University of Hertfordshire where the environmental technology start-ups will initially be focused. This is great news!”
Anne Main MP said:
"I pay tribute to the work of the LEP and both councils in their success."
Read the full statement here.
The Enviro-Tech Enterprise Zone concentrates on our priority sectors for economic growth, with the emphasis on environmental technology.
Its aim is to support and develop the existing enviro-tech sector in west Hertfordshire and attract more businesses to the area thanks to its excellent national and international transport links.
The multi-site bid covers Maylands Business Park, Hemel Hempstead, and land in Dacorum Borough, west of Green Lane. Other sites include underused land and buildings at the Building Research Establishment (BRE) and Rothamsted Research.
The bid also addresses potential economic development land near Buncefield, identified in the St Albans consultation draft Strategic Local Plan, but still subject to the Local Plan process.
LEP Board Chairman John Gourd said:
“We are absolutely delighted that the Government has recognised that our bid is underpinned by robust economic policies which will support both the enviro-tech sector and wider business community. We can now look forward to working with our partners to ensure this will bring significant benefits, not just to this area but Hertfordshire as a whole.”
The projects were developed in response to the Government’s invitation in the summer Budget to LEPs across England to enter into a competitive bidding process for new enterprise zones in partnership with local authorities.
The zones were launched three-and-a-half years ago and have attracted around £2.2bn of investment and created nearly 19,000 jobs. The expansion in the Autumn Statement now brings the total number of Enterprise Zones in England to 44 – 18 new and 24 existing (of which eight have extensions).
Benefits for companies operating in Enterprise Zones can include discounted business rates. The wider benefits for communities include attracting business and creating jobs.
Cllr Andrew Williams, Leader of Dacorum Borough Council, said:
“I welcome the announcement and believe that the Enterprise Zone has the potential to become of international importance, representing a key gateway to London and the UK for global investors wanting advanced manufacturing and distribution space, as well as high tech, potentially exemplar sustainable office provision. This opportunity also paves the way to supply business start-up/small business incubation space (at the research establishments) and move on space for growing businesses.”
LEP Board Member, Councillor Julian Daly, who is also Executive Leader and Portfolio Holder for Planning and Conservation for St Albans City and District Council, said:
“We are long-term champions of the Green Triangle’s aim to make the most of the green technology ‘know how’ of BRE, Rothamsted and the University of Hertfordshire. An Enviro-Tech Enterprise Zone will help us advance the Green Triangle’s agenda. It can bring new firms and highly skilled jobs to the County which is welcome.”
In total there will be 44 Enterprise Zones in England – 18 new, 24 existing (of which eight have extensions), plus Blackpool Airport and Plymouth Enterprise Zones which were previously announced in the Budget that took place in March 2015.
The new and extended Enterprise Zones neighbouring Hertfordshire include:
The scale of growth forecast is likely to have a ripple effect in Hertfordshire, with Luton Airport Enterprise Zone impacting on two of Herfordshire LEP's Growth Areas: the M1/M25 and A1(M) corridors.