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Thames Gateway is able to weather the current economic conditions - Minister

The Thames Gateway is in a strong position to weather the current economic storm and grow in the long term, Thames Gateway Minister Margaret Beckett announced in a major speech yesterday.

Backed up with £9.6bn Government investment, the Thames Gateway is a prime example of how Government intervention and support is helping deal with the global economic pressures, said Beckett.

At the Thames Gateway Forum in East London, Beckett set out a raft of new measures to further boost the region, including transforming it into a eco-region that will make it a showcase for sustainable living.

A proposed “eco-quarter” is the centrepiece of a new 47-point strategy.The eco-quarter will be a combination of existing buildings and new development that develops and tests new green technology and provides a showcase for sustainable development and new initiatives. It is hoped to establish green standards and provide a global example of what can be done in existing developed areas

The strategy is being accompanied by up to £35m being awarded to create green and open spaces throughout the Gateway as part of the Parklands programme.

“The financial downturn poses new challenges for towns and communities across the country,” said Beckett. “But I believe that we have sound reasons to remain optimistic for the Gateway’s long-term prospects. Over the past year the first contracts have been awarded for the
construction of the world’s most advanced container port, London Gateway. New schools and campuses have opened across the region,including the Financial Skills academy at Tower Hamlets. Construction has begun on the Olympic stadium three months ahead of schedule.

“So now is not the time to give up on the Gateway or start watering down our ambitions. In fact, it is more relevant today than ever before. And today’s eco-region strategy and Skills Plan are just two of the projects ensuring we remain on course to ensure the success of one of
the most ambitious regeneration schemes in Europe.”

Beckett will oversee the transition this week of the day to day management of the Gateway to the new delivery body, the Homes and Communities Agency.

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