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REGION OF THE WEEK:

West Wales and the Valleys

West Wales and the Valleys

19/04/2012

Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn will be visiting Wales on 19-20 April. He will meet with First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones and other members of the Welsh Government. He will visit four EU co-financed project in Neath Port Talbot and Swansea.

 

What are the region's priorities?

Located in the United Kingdom, the region West Wales and the Valleys covers an area of 1.24 million hectares with approximately 1,150 km of coastline. Some 1.86 million inhabitants live in the region. In 2009 the GDP per capita amounted to 70% of the EU average. For the period 2007-2013, the region is qualified as a convergence region.

The overall aim of the ERDF Convergence programme is to make West Wales and the Valleys "a vibrant, entrepreneurial region at the cutting edge of sustainable development". The programme has been implemented through a simplified structure comprising five main priorities:


  • Building the knowledge based society;


  • Improving business competitiveness;


  • Developing the strategic Infrastructure for a modern economy;


  • Creating an attractive business Environment;


  • Building Sustainable Communities.


  • The programme has been allocated ERDF funding of Euro 1.25 billion. When this is combined with national and private funding, the programme provides 2.2 billion to boost growth and jobs over the period 2007-2013.

     

    How has EU regional policy contributed?

    70% of the ERDF Convergence resources have been targeted at those categories of expenditure which contribute most to achieving the Lisbon objectives for growth and jobs.

    The programme is performing well and is on track to achieve its physical and earmarking targets agreed with the Commission. To date, 94% of the overall programme budget (82% of ERDF allocation) has been committed to 137 projects; a strong pipeline of projects ensures that full commitment will be achieved whilst offering a good strategic fit to Programme objectives. Total expenditure stands at 36% (28% of ERDF funding) of the overall programme budget.

    So far nearly 7,500 jobs and 1,400 enterprises have been created by ERDF projects in the Convergence region.

     

    Project examples

    Commissioner Hahn will visit following projects which are co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.



    • Neath Port Talbot Peripheral Distributor Road ( ERDF contribution £56.2m).

      Better known as 'Harbour Way', the investment will enable the completion of the 4.8km link to the M4 at junction 38 into Port Talbot and the docks, serving as a vital link and opening up opportunities between West Wales, the UK motorway network, the trunk road network and mainland Europe. The final phase will connect with previously completed phases and make available up to 210 hectares of mainly brownfield land for development of SMEs and other industry with access to European markets, creating employment opportunities and regeneration.

    • Institute for Life Sciences 2 (ERDF contribution £16m)

      Led by the Swansea University, this Institute has been established to play a major role in developing new products and services for the healthcare industry. It is expected that the project will deliver in- depth R&D collaborations with businesses.  

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    • Centre for Nanohealth (ERDF contribution £10m)

      The Centre for Nanohealth (CNH), also led by Swansea University, will establish a unique interdisciplinary research centre using nano-technology to produce healthcare products and services in collaboration with industry. CNH will explore new methods of early disease detection, and pioneer treatment through the use of new technologies which could eventually be used in GP surgeries, community clinics, or even at home – such as a device that could help a patient with a heart condition personalise their medication levels.

    • Technocamps project at Swansea University (ESF contribution £4m)

      This project encourages young people to take up STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects through interactive sessions on topics such as robotics, games development and digital forensics. An interactive exhibition will be on display.

     

    Further information