Councils draw up Morecambe Bay recovery plan

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Three councils have agreed a plan to help the Morecambe Bay area to recover from the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Barrow Borough Council, Lancaster City Council and South Lakeland District Council have written to the government asking for two years of financial backing to help draw up a more substantial strategy which, if implemented, could provide millions of pounds of investment in crucial schemes that deliver economic growth.

The Prosperity & Resilience Strategy document describes how the councils’ economic collaboration is focused on eight themes:

  • Renewables and clean growth
  • Building on the area’s arts and cultural offer
  • Delivering new roles for ports at Barrow and Heysham
  • Retaining and attracting the best talent and diversity
  • Supporting high efficiency ‘food-agri’ innovation
  • Enhancing digital connectivity
  • Growing healthy communities
  • Building resilient town centres

The plans detail how the Bay area is perfectly placed to capitalise on its existing wind, solar, hydrogen, nuclear and marine technologies to become a ‘clean energy trailblazer’, and how it can harness natural assets like the Lake District World Heritage site to complement a world-leading arts and cultural destination, further fuelled by the opportunities that Eden Project North in Morecambe could deliver.

There is also a focus on the two ports as a potential source of economic growth, as well as the potential to combine its agricultural economy with the established engineering and tech sector and specialised higher and further education work - including Lancaster University’s international expertise in plant science – to put the Bay area at the forefront of the move to high-efficiency agriculture.

In a joint statement, the leaders of the three councils, Councillor Ann Thomson, leader of Barrow Borough Council, Councillor Dr Erica Lewis, leader of Lancaster City Council and Councillor Giles Archibald, leader of South Lakeland District Council, said: "This strategy re-states our intent to work together on developing solutions that will bring real lasting benefit to the Bay area.

"We are an existing functioning economic area with many shared interests and priorities and we believe that working collectively we can more effectively support the area’s economic recovery from the pandemic and drive future growth and prosperity.

"We are now asking Government to back our strategy so that we can progress this work and really develop and enhance the area’s economic potential."

The full Prosperity and Resilience Strategy document can be downloaded here.

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