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Win-win for economy and environment says new vision for Trent Valley

Billions of pounds and more than 150,000 jobs could be added to the economy of the Trent Valley area – whilst still protecting its natural environment – says an ambitious study on managing the landscape’s future.

The study looking at the economic and environmental future of the area around the River Trent through Derbyshire up to 2050, was initiated and funded by Derbyshire County Council, acting as a partner of the Lowland Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire Local Nature Partnership (LDN LNP). This Partnership looks to enhance both the economy and environment of the area it oversees by more closely involving business, local authorities and other organisations in environmental planning, and the associated social and well-being benefits from this.

Competing demands on the Trent Valley’s spaces and resources – including urban development, agricultural needs, roads and rail infrastructure, and quarrying – have led to an “increasingly fragmented landscape facing significant pressures”, says the Trent Valley vision study. A copy of The Trent Valley Economic Assessment Report can be read here.

The study assessed an area stretching east-west, from Long Eaton to the edge of Uttoxeter, and north-south, from Derby City to Walton-on-Trent, near Burton. Within this area are places such as Borrowash, Willington and Hatton; and main roads including the A52 between Nottingham-Derby and parts of the A6, A50 and A38.

In the study it is estimated that a coordinated, large scale approach to managing the Trent Valley area’s economy and environment could, by 2050:

bring in more than £2.8billion a year in additional economic benefits;
create around 150,000 new jobs by 2050;
annually generate £80million per year in additional social and environmental benefits.

Report authors, Risk & Policy Analysts Ltd and the Planning Cooperative, calculated the economic, and environmental and social, positives by using earlier studies and strategies. They also looked at the potential benefits for key sectors including agriculture, construction, quarrying and aggregates, and tourism and recreation. Statistical formulas were used to place values on ‘free’ natural resources, including fresh water and recreational green spaces.

Realising the vision for the Trent Valley – of a multi-functional landscape, able to grow its economy whilst still protecting its natural environment (which is also seen as of great economic benefit) through careful, wide-scale planning – would, says the study, require:

A Trent Valley ‘business plan’, setting out in much more detail what benefits a coordinated approach would deliver, up to 2050.
An organisation with staff to put that business plan into action, and keep it updated and responsive to changes such as planning requirements and new development proposals.
Funding, via the public and private sectors (both of whom, says the study, would benefit economically from the Trent Valley plan).

Consultations with Trent Valley area businesses, local authorities and other organisations on the ‘vision study’ have already been hosted by the Lowland Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire Local Nature Partnership, with a view to making it a reality. Pictured above (left to right) are Derbyshire County Council Landscape Architect Gary Ellis, Council Leader Councillor Anne Western and Chief Executive Ian Stephenson talking to (seated) experts from study co-author, Risk & Policy Analysts Ltd.

Tim Farr, Chair of the Lowland Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire Local Nature Partnership, said: “The Trent Valley is a focus area for the Lowland Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire LNP because taking an environmentally-led approach to development here will have significant benefits, not just for people and wildlife, but also for the economy; and these aims are central to the remit of Local Nature Partnerships.

“However, in order to achieve the greatest benefits, we must have a long-term, co-ordinated vision for planning and investment in the area.”

Councillor Anne Western, Leader of Derbyshire County Council, added: “This vision is about taking the best of the existing landscape and reshaping the Trent Valley to benefit the environment, local communities and the economy.

“After sand and gravel extraction has left the area there’s the potential to create a new economically vibrant landscape where tourism, agriculture and recreational activities will thrive; where high-quality housing growth can be encouraged and where associated jobs will be created; a place where people want to live, work and play.”

Commenting on the Trent Valley Vision Study, Peter Richardson, Chair of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership – the private sector-led partnership promoting economic and jobs growth across Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire – said: “Making the landscape a genuine part of our economic growth strategy, is something I would like D2N2 to be the first LEP in the country to do; and then sell this approach to a Government which is absolutely looking for a new way forward, as stated in its new Industrial Strategy.

The Lowland Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire Local Nature Partnership’s board members include representatives from Derbyshire County, Nottinghamshire County and Nottingham City councils; Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, Sherwood Forest Regional Park Board, the National Farmers’ Union, British Geological Survey, the National Forest Company, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Natural England, the University of Derby, David Wilson Homes, Tarmac and Toyota UK.

LDN LNP Coordinator Rosy Carter’s role is funded by the University of Derby, Toyota UK and Nottinghamshire County Council, and supported by the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership.


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