Somerset is “well on its way” on the journey of transitioning to a Net Zero carbon economy – according to the director of planning and economic development at Gravity – who added that the 616-acre Bridgwater-based smart campus is set to bring a myriad of opportunities to the county, as well as across the wider South West.
Claire Pearce was one of six panellists for Insider’s Future of Somerset breakfast event on 28 November, joined by Karl Tucker, chair of Great South West; Andy Berry, chair of Bridgwater and Taunton College; Andrew Cockcroft, senior manager of stakeholder relations at EDF Energy; Mickey Green, executive director of climate and place at Somerset Council; and Jane Bentley, director of Jasun Envirocare.
It was sponsored by Albert Goodman, Stephens Scown and Bridgwater & Taunton College.
The event explored what potential mega-projects such as Hinkley Point C and the Gravity smart campus offer in the region and where future economic development opportunities lie.
Speaking at the breakfast, Pearce said: “One of the reasons that Gravity is so important is that the area has seen a significant number of job losses. The way economies change and transition is important – Bridgwater has been through iterations of economic change and industrialisation, and I see Gravity as the next stage.”
“With Hinkley coming to an end and the required operational workforce being a lot lower in the future, we need opportunities for local people to transition to long-term sustainable jobs.
“Gravity can support up to 7,500 jobs and should prepare us very well for the future, because with some of the traditional low value low wage jobs in decline, we need to restructure and create new types of jobs and new opportunities.”
Further coverage of the breakfast event will be available in the January edition of South West Business Insider magazine.