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The Thames Estuary Context

The Thames Gateway

The Partnership takes its name from the Thames Gateway, a designation given to a large and diverse area stretching north of the Thames from Canary Wharf to Southend, and south of the Thames from Deptford to the Medway and Swale.  Transformation of the Thames Gateway with the benefit of significant public and private investment has been underway since the 1990s - earlier if you include London's Docklands - recognised as a long-term programme of unrivalled economic potential and opportunity.  Once formalised in regional planning guidance (abolished in 2011) the area has continued informally to shape economic and planning policy at local and regional level.

Thames Gateway Kent lies within the boundaries of the County of Kent and covers the North Kent boroughs of Dartford, Gravesham, Maidstone and Swale and the unitary authority of Medway.

The Thames Estuary

More recently - in 2016 - the government established the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission to review progress and to set a vision for what the Estuary could become by 2050.  The Thames Estuary area includes the local authorities that made up the Thames Gateway plus the districts of Canterbury and Thanet in Kent.

The Commission published its Vision for the Estuary in June 2018 and in March 2019 the government published its response to the Commission's recommendations.

These included the creation of a new Thames Estuary Growth Board, and the role of Thames Estuary Envoy to champion the Estuary's interests.  Kate Willard was appointed as the Estuary Envoy in October 2019 together with the Thames Estuary Growth Board comprising representatives from the three parts of the Estuary - East London, North Kent and South Essex.  The Growth Board was enlarged with the appointment of a powerful team of private sector members, annnounced on 21 July 2020 to coincide with the launch of the Board's first Action Plan, The Green Blue.  

TGKP is playing an ongoing role supporting the work of the Envoy and Growth Board.

For more information, visit the Growth Board's website and follow on Twitter at @EstuaryEnvoy.  

To find out more background about the Growth Commission, TGKP's input to its work and the evolution of the Thames Estuary Growth Board, see Action following the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission.

The South East

At a wider scale, the Thames Estuary also forms part of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area which covers the counties of Kent, Essex and East Sussex, together with the unitary authorities of Medway, Thurrock and Southend-on-Sea.  Click here to find out more about the South East LEP.