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December 2014


International award presented to Bristol for its pioneering use of digital technology

Bristol was one of the five winners from more than 250 global candidate cities to be awarded the International Award for Urban Innovation. The award recognises cities using digital solutions to tackle major local issues including health, socio-economic deprivation and climate change. Receiving the award George Ferguson said “This is far better than an Oscar. This is about changing people’s lives” more

In further recognition of the West of England’s reputation as an innovative hub, it was announced in the Autumn Statement that driverless cars are to be tested in the Bristol region (more) and Ultrahaptics, the University of Bristol spin out company developing technology that uses ultrasound to create the feeling of touch in mid-air, has secured a £600,000 investment. more


British Aerospace sector investment

Rolls-Royce is to invest £18m in its Patchway plant to repair and maintain engines for the Airbus A400M military transport aircraft more. The aerospace industry had further good news when Airbus, announced it is investing more than £100m into research, development and training. The commitment is being made in conjunction with industry and government in a bid to win future aerospace programmes. more

“Foxy”, the last British Concorde assembled at Filton, and the last of the fleet to fly, will finally been housed at the new Filton aerospace centre which has been awarded a £4.7m Heritage Lottery Fund. Concorde 216 or Alpha Foxtrot has been in the care of Airbus since it was withdrawn from service in 2003. more


Vital boost to Sevenside as Government announces new junction off the M49

Plans to invest in a new M49 junction will help to unlock the economic potential of the Avonmouth enterprise area, linking it, and the port, to other key centres delivering thousands of new jobs for the West of England. more


Energy and Climate Change Minister visits Bath

The University of Bath Innovation Centre hosted a breakfast meeting with Amber Rudd, Energy and Climate Change Minister, to learn how the South West is leading the way in low carbon development and see examples of sustainable business development which could be replicated across the UK. more


George Ferguson vows to create a “lasting legacy” as Bristol is officially handed the European Green Capital title

The European Commission officially handed over the title to Bristol at a ceremony in Copenhagen on 8th December. Bristol, the first UK city to be awarded the title, now joins the climate change register and has pledged to cut carbon emissions by 40% by 2020. more

Over 50,000 Bristolians are already involved with green initiatives - further plans have been revealed to install a “solar tree” in Millennium Square (more) and the UK’s first bus powered by human waste has taken to the roads between Bath and Bristol Airport. more



Baroness Gillian Shephard speaks of the economic importance of social mobility

Baroness Shephard, Deputy Chair of the Government’s Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, spoke at the recent Bristol Junior Chamber (BJC) President’s Lecture attended by business leaders from across the region. more


Global interest in regions tech cluster

It was announced at the UK Investment summit that one of the largest financial services groups in South Africa has become the latest in a string of major international businesses to invest in Bath and Bristol’s tech hub, expecting to create around 100 new jobs. more

During the summit, Invest Bristol & Bath took the opportunity to host an 80 strong UKTI delegation to showcase the regions cutting-edge creative and digital cluster. The event was a fantastic opportunity for businesses to speak in front of an international audience and many of the participating companies attracted further interest. more 

Latest trade statistics released by HM Revenue & Customs revealed that in the 12 months to September 2014, annual exports from the South West increased by £116m to £13.7billion. more


Council receives national recognition

Bath & North East Somerset Council has been invited to Downing Street to share best practice as the Annual Planning Survey 2014 reveals that the Council is one of the top five performing planning departments in terms of processing large volumes of applications in the UK. more

The Council are also celebrating after the Connecting Families Team made it into England’s top ten list of service providers, seven months ahead of schedule. more


Gloucestershire cricket to host 2015 women’s ashes series match

It has been announced that England take on Australia in a Royal London One-Day International Match at Bristol County Ground On Thursday 23 July 2015.  “I am looking forward to playing in front of a passionate local crowd next summer” said Charlotte Edwards, England Women’s Captain. more


Collaboration of Museums in the West

“Modern Art in Britain” is set to launch in the West this December with exhibitions running in Bristol, Bath, Swindon and Cheltenham. Individual exhibitions launching at museums, including the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath and the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, will showcase the quality and diversity of art collections in the West. more


A great year for Set Squared

Investment raised by innovative firms based at SETsquared, the incubator backed by Bristol and Bath universities, have double over the past year to £60m and are expected to rise again in the coming months. The partnership have contributed £3.8bn to the UK economy and helped create 9,000 jobs.  Twenty SETsquared companies are based at the Engine Shed which recently celebrated its first year. more


Festive joy for local tourism

National Express has announced that Bristol is one of the UK’s top Christmas destinations as demand snowballs over the Christmas period. more

Meanwhile BBC TV Countryfile is to feature the Bath Christmas Market in a Christmas special. The market is regularly voted one of the most popular festive events in the UK. more


Development update

Local Growth Minister, Penny Mordaunt has announced that since the Government gave council powers to retain all business rates growth from the local Enterprise Zone, and use the revenue generated to secure borrowing, more than £410m will be spent by local partners on major infrastructure projects in Enterprise Zones. more

In the West of England, the latest phase of Bath Riverside development, which included the construction of 55 apartments for the city, has been completed. more Plans to create a new commercial quarter as part of the development of Bath Quay have also taken a significant step forward. more

Clevedon Hall, in North Somerset has re-opened after a £3m facelift more and development plans for the Enterprise House at Weston Gateway have been given the green light. more

In another show of confidence for the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone, planning permission has been granted for the 3 Glass Wharf project. more



Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100

Bath-based health food wholesales Supernutrients has leapt into the league table of the country’s fastest growing private businesses. Its 89% average annual sales growth over the past three years has propelled it into the 29th place.  Bristol-based energy supplier Ovo Energy, founded five years ago by Stephen Fitzpatrick, entered the league at no.10.  Meanwhile, Loungers, whose head office is in Bristol and who employs 880 people across its 51 Lounge and Cosy Club outlets, also appeared in the table for the first time in 98th place. more 


North Somerset renewable technology merger

Prolectric Services in Weston-Super-Mare and Forgen Renewables in Clevedon have merged as part of an effort to ramp up their presence in the UK and international renewable technology market. The combined company aims to be able to provide customers protection against ever increasing fuel costs. more



Colleges merge to support local needs

The West of England LEP is supporting a recommendation to merge Norton Radstock College with the City of Bath college to provide specialist vocational education training for more than 3,000 full time and 10,000 part-time students across a range of subjects.

The move forms part of a wider strategy across the West of England’s colleges to respond to local economic needs and improve ways of working with businesses to tackle skills gaps. more


Local MEP talks about benefits of European collaboration

Julie Girling, the Member of European Parliament for the South West of England and Gibraltar gave a talk at Weston College’s new sustainability centre.

The MEP spoke generally about the make-up of the EU as well as highlighting the positive impact of working in corporation with European businesses such as the French energy giant EDF for Hinkley point. more


Digital Bristol Week returns in 2015

Building on Bristol’s reputation as a centre of excellence for digital media, Digital Bristol Week, run in partnership with the BBC Bristol, is returning in February with an exciting schedule packed with a great selection of free events aimed at developing careers and contacts. more


Employer Ownership of Skills Fund for Small Business

The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills has opened the third instalment of a £30million Employer Ownership of Skills Fund, this time created with the needs of small and medium businesses in mind. The Employer Ownership of Skills Fund is designed to encourage businesses to increase their investment in, and commitment to, skills development. Read more here 


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