RDA commits £20m to boost Cornish economy
Major funding for Cornwall has been announced today in two
separate projects which will secure future growth in Cornwall
for years to come.
The South West of England Regional Development Agency (RDA)
has agreed to contribute £8 million towards a funding
package for Newquay Airport. The investment is to help the
airport maintain and develop regional services, including
essential links to London and the Isles of Scilly.
St Austell is to receive a further £12,630,000 from
the RDA in the last phase of funding for the town's
much-needed regeneration, subject to final confirmation from
the DTI. Work will start in March 2007.
Juliet Williams, South West RDA chairman, said: "We
are very happy to be supporting these two key projects for
the ongoing economic regeneration in Cornwall. We are mindful
of the fact that the Cornish economy has suffered some serious
blows in recent times, particularly job losses at Imerys.
The investment decisions we made today involve a large number
of jobs, together with training for local people. They will
make a significant impact and demonstrate our commitment to
"Newquay Airport needs to operate successfully
to bring people into the county for business and pleasure.
We are also pleased to be putting the last phase of investment
into St Austell to give the community and business a centre
to be proud of."
These important decisions were made at today's meeting
of the RDA's Board, a group consisting of individuals
from the public, private and voluntary sectors.
The investment in Newquay Airport is towards a package of
improvements being implemented by Cornwall County Council
to allow the airport to continue after the Ministry of Defence
withdraws from RAF St Mawgan.
The decision recognises the unique status of Cornwall within
the region as an Objective One area and the significant contribution
the airport makes to strengthening Cornwall's economy
by minimising its distance from key business markets.
The future of the airport would have been in doubt without
RDA investment. In supporting the investment, the Board noted
the strong economic case, in particular the numbers of jobs
either safeguarded (1000) or created (potentially 2000). The
fact that over half the airport users are currently in-bound
also emphasises the positive impact the airport has on tourism,
Cornwall's largest industry.
The Board also acknowledged the strong support for the airport
amongst the local business community, which see the benefits
in terms of improving productivity and competitiveness. This
is recognised in the Regional Economic Strategy which calls
for help in delivering access to key economic markets.
The Board carefully weighed up all the issues before coming
to its decision, particularly the carbon impact of the airport.
The fact that investing in the alternatives of road and rail
would require over £1billion of additional funding was
The RDA is committed to looking further at ways in which
the airport and its operations could be made carbon neutral.
The RDA will also undertake a review of its Airport Strategy
for the whole region, recognising the potential impact the
Stern Review and the Eddington Report could have on the future
of this mode of transport.
Further investment in St Austell comes on top of other significant
funding commitments. These include the high-quality Brunel
Business Park (nearing completion) and improvements to the
public realm which will start shortly. Some £17 million
has already been set aside by the RDA for the town centre
St Austell is the biggest single town in Cornwall. The RDA
believes it deserves a centre to be proud of and which will
help spearhead the regeneration of the wider area.
||The South West of England Regional Development Agency
was established by government in 1999 to promote the long-term
economic success of the region. It does this by working
with others to give people the skills they need, encouraging
enterprise, improving infrastructure, helping communities
with regeneration and promoting the strengths of the region.
||The Eddington Transport Study was published on 1 December.
It provides advice to Government on the long term links
between transport and the UK's economic productivity,
growth and stability, within the context of sustainable
development. It was published by the Department for Transport
and HM Treasury and can be accessed from
||The Stern Review into the economics of climate change
was published by the Department for Environment, Food
and Rural Affairs in October. It can be accessed from
||The RDA's investment in Newquay Airport is part
of a package being assembled by Cornwall County Council,
with potential contributions also coming from the Department
for Transport and Objective One.
||Objective One is a term used by the European Commission
to describe poorer areas and funding is provided to help
those areas catch up with more prosperous areas of the
For more details contact: Paul Norris, South West RDA
press office, on 01392 229548.
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439