Minister for Regional Growth: Shovel Ready Eden Project in Morecambe has real potential to drive local recovery and advance the post-Covid economic growth in the North
Yesterday (10th February) David Morris MP held an adjournment debate in the House of Commons to discuss the economic benefits of the Eden Project in Morecambe. The third debate David Morris MP has held on this project comes following the Eden Team’s submission of a business case to the Government. The purpose of the debate was to further make the case for Government funding of the project following a number of productive discussions with Ministers.
During the Debate David Morris MP said:
We must be seen to deliver on investment across the north. Levelling up does not mean investing only in Manchester, Liverpool or Leeds—the major cities—but levelling up all across the north-west. Can the Minister reassure the people of the north-west, and specifically Morecambe and the Lancaster region, that they will not be forgotten, because Eden Project North will have a huge positive impact across Lancashire, Cumbria and Yorkshire? It is within easy reach of the north’s urban centres. We are only about 40 minutes away from Manchester. We are about 20 minutes away from Preston, and looking further north, we can be in Scotland within an hour and a half.
I would like to see some indication of at what fiscal event Eden Project North will be able to attract match funding. The Eden Project has already got £55 million on the table and ready to go, and we now need some Government investment to make it happen—to get the bulldozers in there to start turning around the fortunes of Morecambe and the Lancaster district and to help turn around the fortunes of the north-west and its tourism.
Local Government Minister Luke Hall said in concluding his remarks in the debate:
My hon. Friend asked for confirmation that Eden Project North is exactly the kind of project that this Government wish to support. Although I hope he will understand that I cannot make a decision today, I can give him that assurance. Proposals like Eden Project North are part and parcel of our core agenda to secure a vibrant and prosperous north and level up every part of our country. As my hon. Friend has said, this project has the potential to make an economic impact reaching far beyond the town itself, across the whole of Lancashire and, indeed, the northern powerhouse. It has the potential to create high-quality, new, green economy jobs, which are needed in the north.
The north has many areas of outstanding natural beauty, and this project could be an important part of the wider tourism offer, reimagining coastal communities for the 21st century, not just as an international visitor destination, but as a real asset in the region’s post-covid economic recovery. As my hon. Friend said, the fact that it is shovel-ready means that it has real potential to drive local recovery and advance the post-covid economic growth in the north. I look forward to continued conversations with my hon. Friend on this important proposal, and I thank him again for being such a champion of this proposal and his constituents.
David Harland, Chief Executive of Eden Project International, said:
“We’re grateful to David Morris for continuing to make the case for Eden Project North to the Government and thank him for his supportive words in Parliament today. We'd also like to thank Luke Hall, Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, for his encouraging response and support.
"Eden Project North will have huge economic, environmental and social benefits to both the Morecambe area and wider North West region. We are confident that we have made the strong case for positive investment from the Government. Our track record in Cornwall shows that Eden Projects can return economic impact far outweighing their cost and our firm belief is that Eden Project North will be a key driver of the Government’s levelling-up agenda and a post-Covid green recovery for the North.”
Following the debate David Morris MP said:
‘I would like to thank Luke Hall for his endorsement of the Eden Project Morecambe and his support so far for the Project. The Project has strong support from all local partners, which enables us to make a strong case to Government. The Project has already been endorsed by 2 previous Chancellors and I am currently having ongoing discussions with both the Chancellor Rishi Sunak and the Treasury Minister Steve Barclay to ensure that we push this project over the final hurdle and secure Government support.
I have been championing this project for nearly 4 years now, and this is because I believe that it has the potential to be a game changer for our area and once built will ensure that Morecambe is the Jewel in the Crown of the Whole North West. I will make sure we secure the funding we need to make this project a reality.’
Full text of the debate can be found here: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2021-02-10/debates/FFD138EF-5192-4F86-BC1F-F262B6503BB6/details