The revised City Deal business case – which has now been approved by Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet – is focussed on innovation, zero-carbon fuel and the future of steel.
Also included in the revised business case is a vison to make the Port Talbot Waterfront Enterprise Zone the gateway to the whole Swansea Bay City Region, which is made up of Neath Port Talbot, Swansea, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire.
Overall, the re-modelled business case seeks an investment of £47.7 million from the City Deal over five years, matched in part by Neath Port Talbot Council and other funding streams.
It aims to create and safeguard 1,300 jobs, while providing 18,000 square metres of business space to meet demand from small and medium sized businesses.
The revised business case will be submitted to the City Deal’s Economic Strategy Board and Joint Committee – as well as to the UK Government and Welsh Government – for approval as soon as possible.
Cllr Rob Jones, Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council, said: “This is a vital step to re-inject momentum into the City Deal. The council has made clear its intention to make the City Deal work if we can, and these proposals provide a much better basis for moving forward, while also introducing an important new theme of decarbonising our economy.”
Cllr Rob Stewart, Chairman of the Swansea Bay City Deal’s Joint Committee, said: “We welcome Neath Port Talbot Council’s continued commitment to the City Deal, which is of vital importance to jobs and economic prosperity across the Swansea Bay City Region as a whole.
“We look forward to receiving the revised business case for consideration at Joint Committee. This follows on from both governments recently agreeing to release £18 million of City Deal funding, based on the approval of two projects – Yr Egin in Carmarthen, and the Swansea City and Waterfront Digital District.”
The revised Neath Port Talbot programme is split into four themes:
- The Swansea Bay Technology Centre – An energy positive building that will provide office space for start-ups and local businesses, while also transmitting excess energy from solar and other renewable means to the nearby Hydrogen Centre. This energy will then be used to make zero-carbon fuel for council vehicles.
- A National Steel Innovation Centre that aims to support the steel industry in Port Talbot and Wales. Research and development will be anchored into future steel-making across the region to further reduce carbon emissions.
- Decarbonisation – Work with the FLEXIS research operation on a series of other projects, including the Swansea Bay Technology Centre/Hydrogen Centre energy link, establishing an electric vehicle charging route map, and air quality modelling and real-time monitoring.
- Industrial Futures – This will address the gap between demand and supply to business and available land in the Port Talbot Waterfront Enterprise Zone, with a hybrid building providing production units with office space to support start-ups and indigenous businesses - especially those in the innovation and manufacturing sectors. There will also be laboratory space supported by Industry Wales for spin-outs to monetise research and development projects, as well as land remediation, flood defence work, construction of access roads and upgrading of highways.