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The Importance of the New Western Gateway Powerhouse to South Wales

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The Western Gateway partnership’s first conference is being held at the International Convention Centre Wales at the Celtic Manor Resort in January.

Ian Edwards, chief executive of Celtic Manor and ICC Wales, writes about the importance of the new Western Gateway powerhouse to South Wales.

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The importance of South Wales and Western England working together to create Green Growth as part of the Western Gateway partnership cannot be overestimated.

That’s why the Western Gateway for which I am an independent business representative is hosting its first large scale conference on Green Growth in the Western Gateway right here in Newport.

In my view, this Western Gateway powerhouse partnership can be a game-changer. The big picture here is working together and developing business to business relationships as well.

Businesses have been reluctant to engage in green energy but after COP26 it is now right at the top of their agenda.

People will not come to us to do business if we do not create that awareness of sustainability across the region through a green growth strategy. If we do this together we are going to be a region of choice.

For too long, business has possibly paid a bit of lip service to sustainability but now it is at the forefront of every business of mine.

Large corporates are keen to know our sustainability credentials.

“What environmental initiatives do we have?”, is one of the first questions I get asked. It is all the basic things we do like no re-useable plastic and none of our waste goes to landfill. When we built ICC Wales, we planted 15,000 trees and shrubs in our ancient woodlands to create the right sustainable environment.

Before we even start negotiating our green credentials are at the top of the agenda for our guests and clients-they expect that.

Transport is a massive challenge for business in this area and a potential route to growth and jobs.

When the M4 crossing tolls were abolished in 2018, it opened the floodgates to people from England to come to Wales for business.

The Western Gateway is incredibly important to this region. Most people think that the Levelling Up agenda is all about the North of England but we are desperate for that here in Wales as well. If the Gateway can help with infrastructure that will be very helpful I believe this is a massive opportunity to help the regions in Wales that can really prosper from the Gateway.

We have governments on both sides of the border between England and Wales which hold different views but if we can work together it can be game-changing for prosperity in our region.

My message for business in Wales is simple.

Western Gateway can bring together businesses on both sides of the bridges and really open up opportunities for how we can do business together.

When we took away the tolls on the bridges that made a massive difference. Companies in Swansea absolutely want to work with companies in Bristol so let’s welcome this agenda as a massive working opportunity where we can get together and say: How can we do business better?

The more contact you have the more business opportunities there are for us all. This conference is hugely important and can make a real difference for business. If you want to take part and help steer the conversation about how the Western Gateway can best level up communities, create opportunities and decarbonise our economy, register today to book your place at Green Growth in the Western Gateway.