Thames Estuary launches masterplan potentially worth £115bn

An action plan named ‘The Green Blue’ has been unveiled by the Thames Estuary growth board, with the potential to create 1.5 million jobs and add £115bn, and it could have a major impact locally too.

The scheme comprises of 30 individual projects across the south-east of England, including a new Amazon distribution centre at the old Littlebrook power station, and the London Resort, the plan to install the UK’s biggest ever theme park in Swanscombe.

By supporting these major construction projects, the ‘Green Blue’ action plan “sets our the vision for driving sustainable, economic growth; regenerating infrastructure; and improving transport and connectivity.

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Plans for the new Lower Thames Crossing is also included in the ambitious project, which covers North Kent, south Essex, and east and south east London.

The action plan has now been published by the Thames Estuary growth board, with the area backed by the Government as the UK’s biggest growth opportunity.

The board, who require £1.3bn funding, say the plans will potentially create 1.5 million jobs in the region, and add value of up to £115bn to the nation’s economy, making it “integral” to our growth and recovery post-Brexit and post-Covid-19.

Central to their initiative are plans to increase the amount of passengers and freight moved on the River Thames by 50% and 25% respectively over the next five years.

Kate Willard, the board’s Thames Estuary Envoy and Chair, said: “We’re here. We are going to make a transformative change within and across the Estuary to drive growth; creating jobs, improving productivity and ensuring that the right infrastructure is in place to make sure this unparalleled growth opportunity is delivered.

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“We will work with existing great partners across the patch and bring new voices and new investment to the Estuary.”

Setting out plans for the next two years, looking ahead over the next ten, she said the Green Blue is a key step for the Growth Board in fulfilling the potential of the region.

Included in the 30 projects in development is the Lower Thames Crossing, a 2.6-mile tunnel connecting Kent, Thurrock and Essex called the “most ambitious UK road project since the M25.”

The London Resort, in Swanscombe, Kent, will be one of Europe’s largest construction projects, with the resulting theme park three times larger than any other resort in the UK.

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Dubbed the UK’s answer to Disneyland, the construction will see 535 acres transformed into two theme parks, a water park, 3,500 hotel rooms, and create 30,000 jobs.

Kate Willard added: ““The Thames Estuary is brimming with potential, just waiting to be tapped into. The government recognises this, which is why it is viewed as integral to the future of the UK economy. But real growth is about more than nuts and bolts – it’s about people.

“Today may be the official launch, however, the board and I have already been hard at work behind the scenes. We are ready to deliver good, green growth.”

Also included in the projects is one of the UK’s 10 new freeports at Tilbury, work at London’s historic Smithfield and Billingsgate markets in Dagenham Docks, and ‘production corridor’ in the south east.

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South East LEP Chair, Chris Brodie said: “We welcome the launch of this plan from the Thames Estuary Growth Board and particularly pleased to see the focus on green growth, reflecting the fantastic opportunity this area offers to build a new economy and new communities, in the way we want to live, work, learn and play in the future.”

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