Three priorities have been identified where the Atlantic Gateway Partnership can add most value and unlock the area’s growth potential. These key priorities are also reflected in the NIER and underpin TFN’s Strategic Investment Plan.
The roles that Port of Liverpool and Manchester Airport play across Atlantic Gateway are key to a logistics sector that is world-class and a major driver of success for many of the area’s key sectors. An increasing number of businesses are choosing to locate in the Atlantic Gateway area due to its global and local connectivity, its skilled workforce and access to consumer markets.
Liverpool2 is a game-changer for the North’s logistics sector. The new facility which opened in 2016, enables the Port of Liverpool to handle the largest vessels in the global fleet. The surrounding rail and road links provide UK-wide access whilst the Manchester Ship Canal provides a unique opportunity to move goods by short-sea shipping from the River Mersey to inland destinations along the Canal. This not only removes traffic from the area’s road network, contributing to improved air quality, but also enables further logistics sites to be developed along the Ship Canal creating new job opportunities for people throughout the Atlantic Gateway area. Port Salford in Greater Manchester is the UK’s first inland tri-modal logistics site linking Greater Manchester to the Port of Liverpool, providing capacity for further growth of the logistics sector.
Atlantic Gateway already has a number of well- established logistics locations which are critical to the area’s competitive advantage including Trafford Park (the largest logistics park in Europe), Omega at Warrington and Knowsley Business Park. Further development opportunities have been identified that are of strategic importance to the growth of the UK’s logistics sector and the other sectors that it supports.
This includes specific sites within Greater Manchester such as Manchester Airport, Airport City, Port Salford, Logistics North, Heywood/Pilsworth, Wigan (M6 Junction 25/26) and Carrington. In the Liverpool City Region, sites have been identified including various locations across Knowsley and Knowsley Business Park, Parkside and Haydock in St Helens, Liverpool International Business Park and 3MG in Halton. Several locations across Cheshire and Warrington have been identified including further expansion of Omega, several sites in Ellesmere Port and several sites along the Manchester Ship Canal including Port Ince, Port Cheshire and Port Warrington. Improved West-East connectivity is critical to the growth of the logistics sector.
science and innovation
Innovation matters; it drives economic growth, job creation, productivity and competitiveness and over the long-term generates up to 70% of all economic growth.
The Atlantic Gateway area has outstanding strengths, assets and capabilities including its universities and world-leading research and science facilities, talented researchers and scientists, global businesses, a diverse SME base and wide ranging science parks and innovation- driven centres. Its concentration and proximity of science and innovation-based strengths and assets makes it unique within the UK. It is important that the area continues to invest in new opportunities and that it exploits its existing assets to realise its full potential.
With several key hubs including the Corridor Manchester (with its links to Alderley Park and its associated Enterprise zones), the Liverpool Knowledge Quarter, Sci-Tech Daresbury and the Cheshire Science Corridor, the Atlantic Gateway has globally competitive science assets with further potential for growth. Unlocking growth opportunities is a priority for Atlantic Gateway, especially in relation to essential enabling infrastructure and supporting collaboration to harness the potential of world-leading research to stimulate economic growth and create jobs.
The Government has commissioned a series of Science and Innovation Audits (SIAs) to develop a new approach to regional economic development through analysing key strengths and then identifying mechanisms to realise further growth potential. Greater Manchester and Cheshire East’s key strengths as set out in its SIA are in health innovation, advanced materials, energy, digital and industrial biotechnology. The Liverpool City Region’s key strengths include research into infectious diseases, high performance and cognitive computing and materials chemistry.
Atlantic Gateway commissioned a study in 2016 to review opportunities to increase growth potential and the level of commercialisation and economic contribution of science and innovation. This study identified a number of opportunities to improve commercialisation including esential infrastructure improvements to unlock key sites and the development of further facilities to provide a ‘home for life’ and enable businesss to expand. Building upon the results of the SIAs, Atlantic Gateway will work with partners to strengthen the sector and unlock more of the barriers idenitfied in the report.
Further world-leading opportunities have also been idenitfied to build upon the area’s existing strengths including the Pankhurst Centre. The Pankhurst Centre for Research in Health, Technology and Innovation will be a new cross-disciplinary Institute to bring together clinical research with materials science, informatics, engineering and computer science to address major health problems.
High quality infrastructure is vital for economic growth and improved quality of life. Infrastructure is not just about transport but also includes other essential infrastructure including digital connectivity, energy and green and blue infrastructure. Infrastructure in its broadest sense is not only essential for day-to-day life, but it also underpins social mobility, supports growth and is a major factor in attracting foreign direct investment.
A long-term strategic approach to infrastructure investment is key to maintaining business confidence, improving productivity and creating jobs. We support the creation of the National Infrastructure Commission to review and champion infrastructure investment across the UK and continue to contribute to its consultations and reports.
Investment in transport is fundamental to the growth of the economies of the Atlantic Gateway and the North. By creating a series of super-connected economies, people will have better access to more jobs; improving social mobility and prosperity within Atlantic Gateway. We support the work undertaken by TfN and call on the Government to provide more clarity on transport investment across the North. The success of the Atlantic Gateway area is dependent on transport investment to better connect the North.