Edwina Hart, Minister for Economy, Science and Transport
On 20th January, I made a commitment in the Chamber to provide an update on Welsh Enterprise Zones.
Since their establishment back in 2012, considerable progress has been made and I should like to put on record my thanks to Chairs and Members of the Boards, past and present, for their hard work and commitment.
Yesterday, Cardiff based MotoNovo Finance announced they will be creating more than 580 new jobs in the Financial and Professional Services sector in a major expansion to be located at Central Cardiff Enterprise Zone. This investment is a significant economic boost in the Enterprise Zone, where the Company plans to establish its new UK headquarters. Today’s news follows the recent announcement of significant investment by Aston Martin at the Cardiff Airport and St Athan Enterprise Zone.
Both of these investments serve to demonstrate the benefits the Enterprise Zones in Wales are delivering. A summary of key developments for each of the Enterprise Zones is set out below:
Anglesey Enterprise Zone
The Board has prioritised key sites to achieve the goals of increasing jobs growth and wealth. The new Llangefni Link Road will enable the accrual of significant benefits to the area including improved access to the Enterprise Zone sites and support for the growth and expansion of the Coleg Menai (Grŵp Llandrillo Menai) campus. Additionally, the scheme will improve links with the A55 dual carriageway and overcome traffic constraints in the wider Llangefni area.
They have recently recommended the extension of the Zone boundaries to include the whole Holyhead Port site, Menai Science Park (M-Sparc) and an area of the seabed that will accommodate the Morlais tidal energy demonstration zone. It is a key priority to maximise the supply chain opportunities associated with Wylfa Newydd and in the low carbon energy sector especially in operations and maintenance which will deliver sustainable jobs for Ynys Mon.
Cardiff Airport & St Athan Enterprise Zone
Following the major announcement by Aston Martin of investment in the Enterprise Zone, which will create 750 jobs and a further 1,000 in the supply chain, the Enterprise Zone Board will be taking the opportunity to consider, review and refocus its approach. A small advisory Group is being established, representing the Enterprise Zone Board, Cardiff Airport Board and Airport Holding Company as well as Anchor companies in the region, to make recommendation on the future shape, boundary and focus for the Enterprise Zone.
Meanwhile, the development framework agreed by the Board will be put forward for consultation by the Vale of Glamorgan Council to bring forward the development of the Gateway site adjacent to Cardiff Airport. The Enterprise Zone Board will continue to work with the Cardiff Airport Board to build on the considerable improvements in increasing passenger numbers, enhancements made to the visitor experience and to public transport to the airport.
Central Cardiff Enterprise Zone
Though Financial & Professional Services remains the focus of the Enterprise Zone, the Board is keen to support opportunities which have arisen in the creative, tourism and ICT sectors to widen the development of the Zone. The Board continues to support the work of the Cardiff Capital Region and the Cardiff City Deal.
Its key priority remains the provision of more high quality Grade A office space, as well as securing the development of complementary, mixed use space to provide a sustainable, diverse and vibrant business environment. In addition, the Board has highlighted the need for improved transport and ICT infrastructure to help facilitate business growth.
Deeside Enterprise Zone
The Board’s top priorities relate to the delivery of a strategic site and the development of skills and R&D capacity. The development of the Northern Gateway site is progressing well with flood defence works completed and construction of Phase One of the site access road due to commence this Spring. As well as bringing forward a final business case regarding the potential development of a Wales Advanced Manufacturing Institute, the Board has also developed a Shared Apprenticeship Scheme in conjunction with Coleg Cambria. The Board is also widening its sector focus to include Energy & Environment and Food sectors.
Ebbw Vale Enterprise Zone
The Board’s key priority is the development of the strategic Rhyd Y Blew site, one of the largest development sites in the South Wales Valleys, and attracting a large scale inward investment project to the site. Key infrastructure projects already completed are the development of the new A465 dual carriageway and the £11.5m rail link and new station at Ebbw Vale. The Board is keen that these investments help secure new investment projects into the area. The Board’s substantial focus on developing the engineering and manufacturing skills base of the area has already resulted in the development of a Shared Apprenticeship Scheme which successfully launched in September 2015 and more recently an ‘Employer Liaison Programme’ job matching scheme which is about to launch. Both of these schemes aim to enhance the ‘offer’ of the region and encourage investment.
Haven Waterway Enterprise Zone
A key priority for the Board is bringing forward new sites for development and also exploiting opportunities afforded by the deep Haven Waterway, including the cruise market.
Encouraging investment to the region also continues to be a central focus for the Board.
The Murco ‘Transform Skills Programme’ has assisted companies affected by the closure of the refinery and the Board is working with Pembrokeshire College to explore the potential feasibility of a Skills Centre of Excellence for the energy, engineering and maritime sectors. In addition to the Energy & Environment Sector, the Board recognises that the Food, Agriculture, Tourism and Leisure Activity sectors are important to the area and additional people are being co-opted to the Board to reflect this. Also, the Board is keen to develop linkages and shared objectives with the Swansea Bay City Region.
Snowdonia Enterprise Zone
The Board continues to promote the Trawsfynydd site as a prime location for first of its kind Small Modular Reactor nuclear deployment in the UK and has undertaken considerable exploratory work in this regard. Meanwhile decommissioning work at the site continues with employment at the site extended beyond the anticipated date, on the back of representations made to Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Magnox and Cavendish Fluor Partnership by the Board and others.
The Llanbedr site has a newly created operating capability for Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems and is one of a small number of locations being considered for a possible UK Spaceport. The Board wishes to acknowledge the importance of tourism as a key sector in the surrounding area and to incorporate it as part of its Strategic Plan. In addition, the Board is keen to maximise opportunities as part of a vision for North Wales as a leading centre of excellence for UK nuclear delivery and for space.
Across all of the Enterprise Zones, exciting work is underway to create a bespoke marketing proposition for each Zone, including the design of a new website. Pipeline figures are healthy and delivery against the priorities of each Zone is on course.
Finally, Assembly Members will be aware that proposals for an Enterprise Zone at Port Talbot are under development and I will provide Members with an update very shortly.