And what is the ‘Great South West’?
It was back in November 2019 that the ‘Western Gateway’ was launched:
The Western Gateway is a strategic partnership promoting and maximising economic growth across south Wales and the west of England to create jobs, boost prosperity and support the world-renowned universities and businesses of the region. Linking a number of towns and cities across a wide region either side of the Severn the Western Gateway will mirror the successful, established work of the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine and will seek to ensure that the region is globally competitive. Cross-border Western Gateway will form new ‘powerhouse’ in UK economy – GOV.UK
Here’s its remit, as declared on its homepage:
Western Gateway partnership is the UK’s first pan-regional partnership to bring together leaders from two countries. Stretching across South Wales and Western England, our powerhouse is working to power the UK’s efforts to reach net zero whilst also providing opportunities to those at risk of being left behind. Net-zero Innovation Connectivity International | Western Gateway
It’s a bit confusing, as we already have the ‘Great South West Partnership’ – who were presenting themselves to parliament earlier in the year:
The Great South West Partnership wants the name to sit alongside the Northern Powerhouse, the Midlands Engine and the Western Gateway as part of efforts to grow the UK economy. Karl Tucker, chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “The Great South West is united by the idea that by working together, we can achieve more. It was therefore fantastic to come together with our partners to define our ambitions as a region, and set out our plan for becoming the country’s Natural Powerhouse. We are looking forward to the region’s green and blue opportunity being presented in Parliament, as part of our efforts to gain government support for the Great South West.” Plans for Great South West region taken to parliament | Bournemouth Echo
As for the Western Gateway, today it’s announced its new director:
The new director of the Western Gateway says its priorities for 2023 include launching its vision for rail until 2050 and renewable energy supply. The cross-border organisation is made up of local authorities and local enterprise partnerships in the West of England and South Wales, and is designed to play a leading role in boosting the region’s economic fortunes. As it enters its second year of operation its strategic priorities for the year have been laid out by new director John Wilkinson. They include rail and energy supply, potentially once again trying to harness renewable energy from the Severn Estuary. Western Gateway boss says energy and rail ‘top of strategic priorities’ – Business Live and Western Gateway Partnership director outlines plans for 2023 – Business & Innovation Magazine
Philip Johnson writing in the Telegraph in 2020 questioned the money already spent on the tidal barrage idea for the Severn: “The colossal cost of infrastructure” – Vision Group for Sidmouth
The final question, prompted by comments to the VGS, has to be: How is all this relevant to these parts?
Perhaps: Launch of Uk First Hydrogen Ecosystem Map for South West and South Wales – Hydrogen Central and March: GW4 Alliance and Western Gateway partnership | News and features | University of Bristol
But perhaps not: Cornwall concerns over Great South West ‘powerhouse’ | Falmouth Packet and Back the Great South West campaign: ‘beyond frustration’ – Vision Group for Sidmouth