Vaughan Gething MS, Minister for Economy
Today I am providing an update on the Enterprise Zone programme in Wales and its associated governance arrangements, following a period of extensive review which has been informed by discussions with key stakeholders and which builds on the earlier review undertaken in 2018.
There are currently eight Enterprise Zones in Wales - Anglesey, Central Cardiff, Cardiff Airport & Bro Tathan, Deeside, Ebbw Vale, Haven Waterway, and Snowdonia designated in 2012/13 and Port Talbot Waterfront in 2017/18. Today I am confirming that the eight zones, currently designated, will remain as a component of our place based approach to economic development.
Whilst all Zones are different and the pace of delivery has been varied across each one, reflecting different starting points and their distinctive identities, strong progress has been made in all locations. By March 2019, almost 14,000 jobs had been supported across the Zones and public sector investment of some £315m had supported a range of investments. Those investments include the establishment of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre [AMRC Cymru] facility in Deeside, the creation of substantial Grade A office space and mixed-use developments in Central Cardiff, the development of the M-SParc in Anglesey and the work in Snowdonia which has helped elevate the site as one of choice for new low carbon developments. In the Haven Waterway Zone work has commenced on the Pembrokeshire Food Park. A manufacturing shared apprentice programme to encourage business growth and skills has been set up in Ebbw Vale and has benefited over 100 individuals. At Bro Tathan we have seen investment by companies such as Aston Martin and E Cube, and at Port Talbot work continues with key partners including the local authority, Swansea University, TATA Steel and the port to capitalise on opportunities in the area.
The Enterprise Zone Advisory Boards have played a key role in shaping and driving forward the Enterprise Zone programme in Wales and I would like to put on record my appreciation to the Chairs - Mr Neil Rowlands, Dr John Idris Jones, Mr Roger Maggs MBE and Mr Stan McIlvenny OBE - and all Board Members for their support over many years. I would also like to thank the local authorities and other partners across all the Enterprise Zone areas who have played a significant role in driving forward the objectives and positive impacts in their respective areas.
I have been impressed by the collaborative approach between the public and private partners that the Boards have helped to engender and I therefore plan to extend the appointments to the Boards in Anglesey, Haven Waterway and Port Talbot for a period of up to 12 months. During this time we will commence a process to refresh board membership beyond this timeframe and align their focus to our priorities for a more prosperous, equal and greener Wales.
Following the determined work of Dr John Idris Jones and the Board members at Snowdonia Enterprise Zone, we have recently established Cwmni Egino Limited, a new company, to take forward developments, including potential Small Modular Reactor (SMR) projects and applications for medical radioisotopes, at the Trawsfynydd site. Work relating to the Llanbedr site will be taken forward in partnership with Gwynedd Council and other regional stakeholders. On that basis, I will not be extending the term of the Board. I wish to thank John and all Board Members for their efforts and for the significant progress made.
The Advisory Boards for the Enterprise Zones at Deeside, Ebbw Vale, Cardiff Central and Cardiff Airport and Bro Tathan were disbanded following the earlier review in 2018.
It has been timely to review the Enterprise Zone programme and supporting governance structures in light of priorities outlined in the new Programme for Government, the ongoing economic recovery from the pandemic, our commitment to deliver against the low carbon agenda, and to ensure alignment with regional priorities as agreed in the Regional Economic Frameworks recently published.
As set out in our Economic Mission, we place the utmost importance in investing in people and places and Enterprise Zones remain a feature of that approach to economic development. I look forward to working with the Boards and other key stakeholders to drive forward the ambitions for each of the eight Zones in Wales.