Greater Lincolnshire is moving a step closer towards greater autonomy as the region has been included in the third and final wave of Local Industrial Strategies (LIS) development — which could be a key to unlocking the post Brexit funding promised by the government.
Becoming a rural test-bed for energy and water technologies, and future proofing the traditional agri-food sector are two of the five emerging themes the Lincolnshire industrial strategy will focus on. Think off-shore wind farms, coastal flooding protection and farming robots. An efficient ports and logistics industry in the north of the region is also marked as a key element in Lincolnshire’s future, with Grimsby port currently handling over 500,000 vehicle imports and exports each year, and also serving the offshore wind energy developments.
The county’s ageing population and incoming retirees will also feature in the local development plan. The industrial strategy will focus on developing new solutions for supporting people to live well for longer in dispersed, rural areas. By 2041, the ONS projects there will be 110,000 people aged 65-74 in Lincolnshire (a 14% increase from 2016 numbers), while the 75+ population is set to soar by 87% to 140,600 in the next 25 years.
The fifth key element in Lincolnshire’s upcoming industrial strategy will be tourism, with the plan set to develop a high-quality and inclusive visitor economy. More than four million people visited Lincoln in 2017, and Lincolnshire’s tourism industry increased by a further 7.3% last year, reaching a value of £1.47 billion. The sector employs around 19,500 people but the work is highly seasonal: August remains the busiest month for the coast, but October and March have seen the largest increases in visitor numbers. The challenge will be to convert the majority of tourists who are day visitors to stay in the region for longer.
County Councillor Colin Davie, Executive Member for Economy and Place, said: “We’ve long argued that Lincolnshire should have a greater say when it comes to economic development. But this is not just a step towards greater autonomy for our region – it’s also the key to unlocking the post-Brexit funding promised by the Government. The LEP is keen to ensure that the Lincolnshire strategy is tailored to meet the needs of local businesses, and will be keen to hear their views on the best way forward.”
Ruth Carver, Director of the Greater Lincolnshire LEP, said: “We have already conducted extensive work in producing a robust evidence base for our Local Industrial Strategy and have had it independently assessed. We have made sure that we were ready the hit the ground running once we were given the go-ahead by the government, which has now been rubber stamped in this week’s announcement.”
The LEP team working on the Local Industrial Strategy, led by Liz Shutt, Cathy Jones and James Baty, will begin a final consultation period on the strategy in the new year and then continue to work with government with the aim of implementing it by March 2020.
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