Eco-region research centre launched

A research centre that will develop sustainable technologies has been officially launched as part of a programme to turn the Thames Gateway into an "eco-region".

The Thames Gateway Institute for Sustainability, launched at the Thames Gateway Forum, in London, will be a key part of the plans for the region.

The institute, which was first announced a year ago, will be spread across three sites, at Dagenham Dock, Dartford, in Kent, and South Essex.

It is hoped that the institute will partner with similar organisations around the world, and help to put the UK at the forefront of environmental and sustainable research and developments.

Housing Minister Margaret Beckett addressed the forum on its first day. She said: “Last year we set our intention to develop the Thames Gateway as an eco-region.

“That’s about ensuring that economic growth goes absolutely hand-in-hand with environmental sustainability.

“The so-called green collar industries have the potential to make an immense contribution to our economy in the coming years.

“I want to see the Thames Gateway right at the forefront. Today, the Gateway’s Institute for Sustainability is being launched, helping to accelerate the technology that will help us live more sustainably in the future – as well as creating jobs and attracting investment.”

The three sites will include a research and development centre focusing on sustainable construction, renewable energy, waste and recycling at Dagenham Dock, and a Bio-Renewable Energy Research Park in South Essex.

Government also published a prospectus outlining its ambitions for the Thames Gateway eco-region, which will include the Olympic site.

Ms Beckett added: “In a few days, Sir Bob Kerslake and the Homes and Communities Agency will be taking over day to day management of the Gateway.

“This will help cut through some of the complexities and confusion for private sector investors and delivery partners.

“There will just be one agency, with the right people, resources and skills all in one place. This will speed up decisions and delivery.”

The prospectus can be viewed here.

Kate Martin

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