Regeneration and economic growth

Thames Gateway

The Thames Gateway is the UK's largest economic development programme, stretching for 40 miles along the Thames Estuary from the London Docklands to Southend in Essex and Sheerness in Kent. The programme aims to maximise the potential of the Thames Gateway to provide London with the space to grow.

It supports the continued growth of Greater London and the Greater South East as a driver of the UK's prosperity. London's continued growth is critical to the future prosperity of the Greater South East and the United Kingdom as a whole. Crucial to that continued growth is the regeneration of the Thames Gateway, which offers London the space to grow.


The Thames Gateway is the latest manifestation of the regeneration of the Thames Estuary which in one form or another dates back to 1981, stretching down the estuary to Southend and Swale.

Despite the recent recession the long term growth pressures on London and the South East remain and the cost of doing business is high: office and staff costs are relatively high, there is transport congestion with overcrowding and delays, and housing costs are high. Alongside the Government's plan to rebalance the economic performance of the UK/England, it is the Thames Gateway that offers the opportunity to enable continued growth of London and the South East. It is an area with unparalleled growth potential, presenting a range of opportunities including:

  • proximity to London
  • transport links via the Channel Tunnel Rail Link to Europe and the rest of the UK
  • significant volume of brownfield land that could be redeveloped for housing and business
  • the presence of key sites with the potential to provide significant numbers of new jobs.

The Thames Gateway still lags behind the rest of the Greater South East in economic terms. The Gateway suffers from lower average skill levels amongst residents, comparatively high unemployment, higher than average numbers employed in low added value sectors, with consequent problems in attracting high value sectors and investment to the Thames Gateway.

What we are doing

The Government is committed to making a success of the Thames Gateway. We believe the right way forward is for the people of the Thames Gateway to decide its future for themselves. In future, strategic leadership will come from local authorities and the Mayor of London. This will take the form of a new Thames Gateway Strategic Group, which had it'sĀ first meeting in February 2011. Building on Sir Terry Farrell's vision for the Thames Gateway, they will chart the course for its development in coming years.

In addition to this decentralisation, we will promote incentives to invest and develop in the area, instead of grant funding specific projects.

Within government, the Department for Communities and Local Government will continue to promote Thames Gateway as a strategically significant place, to work with other departments to identify how their programmes bear on the Thames Gateway and need to be adapted to reflect the context, and to facilitate individual schemes or projects that necessitate cross-Government collaboration.

There are several key projects that will deliver significant growth in the Thames Gateway and involve cross-Government facilitation:

Stratford and the Olympic Park

  • government is investing £9.3 billion in London 2012 related projects
  • major jobs growth occurring in Stratford
  • we are working to ensure that the legacy benefits of London 2012 are exploited and maximised for the local and wider communities in the Thames Gateway.

London Gateway

  • the investment of £1.5 billion by DP World will generate 36,000 jobs in totalĀ - of which 12,000 jobs will be created in the medium/long term.


  • work has started on the £16 billionn Crossrail link, which joins the Thames Gateway with central London
  • the five new stations in the Thames Gateway combined with improvements to the Docklands Light Railway and the London Overground mean residents and businesses of East and South East London will be better served by public transport than ever before
  • this will mean the business district of Canary Wharf can expand, Stratford will flourish, the world class international conference centre at Excel can grow and we can open up the untapped potential of the Royal Docks where there is 300 acres of land still to be developed.

Recent Successes

There have been several recent developments in the Thames Gateway, for example:

  • The first phase of the £60 million High House Production Park in Purfleet backed by the Royal Opera House, officially opened on 6 December 2010.
  • Ravensbourne College, has now opened, providing training in digital media and design. The talent it will foster will ensure the Thames Gateway establishes its reputation as one of the best places in the world for creativity and innovation.

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