Ambitious plans to tackle some of the biggest challenges which society is facing while accelerating economic growth across North Yorkshire have been harnessed in a brand new strategy for the county.
North Yorkshire Council’s draft economic growth strategy is set to see the authority establishing a leading role in proposals to create a carbon negative economy, maximise investment and improve the quality of life for the county’s 615,000 residents and 32,000 businesses.
The five-year strategy includes plans to support business growth by building on existing sectors and increasing innovation and productivity. It is also looking to equip town centres so they can thrive through the 21st century by investing in transport, housing, digital and energy infrastructure. And the strategy is also aimed at ensuring that residents have the skills needed to meet these aspirations.
The draft plan sets a framework for detailed actions and investment plans with delivery both by the council and in partnership with other agencies. It also outlines the roles which the council’s area constituency committees will play to make sure local communities are involved and engaged.
North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for open to business, Cllr Derek Bastiman, said:
Our economic growth strategy is a key milestone for the council, marking an exciting new phase for our economy. We are set to take the lead on tackling some of the big economic challenges of our time and seek to maximise investment from the private sector, government and funding agencies.
This strategy comes at a critical time for North Yorkshire, and one of the most exciting in its recent history. Having recently successfully completed the move to a single unitary, we have a once in a generation opportunity to embed a new approach to supporting economic growth in North Yorkshire.
North Yorkshire Council and City of York Council have successfully secured a devolution deal with the Government, which subject to final approval by Parliament, will lead to the creation of a new York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority which is set to drive regeneration and investment to the wider area.
Cllr Bastiman added:
North Yorkshire is a unique and special place. Its scale and industries make it integral to the North of England’s economic future, and its landscapes, culture and history make it a fantastic place to live, work and do business.
The county is already a leader in the UK’s transition to net zero and has ambitions to go further in becoming a carbon negative economy, meaning more carbon dioxide emissions would be removed from the atmosphere than are emitted. Renewable energy generation, agritech and food and drink sectors are all nationally significant and offer huge potential for both growth and decarbonisation.
The county is also home to a vast array of localised specialisms spanning financial and professional services, advanced manufacturing, logistics, digital and life sciences, as well as being an internationally-renowned visitor economy which in itself generates more than £1.5 billion each year.
North Yorkshire’s key economic strengths include:
- A thriving, entrepreneurial business base with high business density.
- A strong and diverse economy where growth and productivity have outpaced UK levels at various times in recent years.
- A highly skilled workforce and strong labour market, with employment rates and qualification levels exceeding UK averages.
- One of the best places to live in the UK with two National Parks and three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and places like Skipton and Harrogate often voted among the best places to live in the country.
- A highly connected location at the heart of the North, with major sites primed for development and strong connections to east coast ports as well as major cities such as York, Leeds and Bradford.
- Access to world class research and innovation assets linked to economic strengths in food, energy and bio-renewables with close links to universities and research and development centres in neighbouring areas, including top-flight universities in Leeds and York.
- Outstanding places spanning urban, rural, and coastal locations, where a breadth of cultural and heritage assets combine with thriving market towns covered by the third largest local authority in England.
Members of the council’s executive will meet on Tuesday next week (17 October 2023) when they will be asked to recommend to full council that the draft strategy is adopted.