South Yorkshire has been named as the UK’s first Investment Zone, which is expected to generate 8,000 new jobs and bring £1.2bn of private investment to the region by 2030. 

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, accompanied by South Yorkshire leaders, announced the new South Yorkshire Investment Zone on Thursday 13th July, which will see the region provided with £80 million of government support to help make South Yorkshire a thriving epicentre for innovation and business.

Investors, developers and start-ups will be offered a combination of targeted support and financial interventions to start, scale up and relocate their businesses, including dedicated Investment Zone planning officers to help unlock barriers to planning and support schemes to upskill workforces and provide opportunities for new graduates.

South Yorkshire’s Mayor Oliver Coppard said: “Our Investment Zone will help put South Yorkshire back where we belong; at the forefront of this country’s manufacturing-led growth.

“Technology created in South Yorkshire built the modern world. Because in South Yorkshire we have always known how to deliver practical solutions to big challenges. Yesterday it was stainless steel and our coal industry, today it is AI, Robotics and creating lighter, stronger materials for Jet Zero.”

South Yorkshire Investment Zone annoucement
Image: HM Treasury

The Investment Zone, the first of 12 new zones to be built around universities and high-growth industries in the country, will capitalise and build on the success of South Yorkshire’s Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District (AMID), expanding it to incorporate Rotherham town centre and Sheffield city centre, with Opportunity Sites across Barnsley and Doncaster.

Matthew Stephens, President of Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber said: “[The announcement] is truly fantastic news for Rotherham and the wider South Yorkshire region. Whilst Barnsley may be outside of the actual zone, we will see Barnsley benefitting as an Opportunity Site, allowing the prospect for growth across several key investment areas. As a Chamber, we are keen to await further detail of this over the next coming months.

“This achievement is a testament to the outstanding collaboration between the Mayoral Combined Authority, local authorities, and businesses which many are represented by Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce.”

The first major announcement as part of the South Yorkshire Investment Zone is a groundbreaking sustainable aviation research project led by Boeing, with a total investment exceeding £80 million.

The focus of the project is to drive the aviation industry closer net-zero through manufacturing lightweight structures for aeroplanes at a new state-of-the-art facility which once built will be the largest research and innovation project in Northern England with a total investment of more than £80 million.

COMPASS (Composites at Speed and Scale), will be an extension of the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC)’s Factory 2050 and will be built with support from the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, Sheffield City Council and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult.

It will be the University of Sheffield AMRC’s biggest R&D project to date and will drive new investment into the UK’s aerospace sector, changing the game of sustainable aviation.

Professor Koen Lamberts, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: “The new South Yorkshire Investment Zone builds on our region’s industrial heritage and will supercharge opportunities to drive more innovation-led growth.

“We are very proud that our new COMPASS facility is the investment zone’s first major announcement.”

“Over the last two decades, we have seen how university research and innovation has helped to transform our region by attracting inward investment and creating highly-skilled jobs. South Yorkshire’s Investment Zone holds enormous potential, and we look forward to working with our partners to ensure its success.”

President of Boeing UK, Ireland and Nordic region, Maria Laine, said: “This project is a testament to Boeing’s commitment to drive innovation and growth within the UK aerospace sector. Together with our world-leading industry partners, this investment is poised to revolutionise aerospace manufacturing to meet global demand, while supporting vital jobs and growth in the UK.

The project will initially create around 50 jobs in South Yorkshire, with the potential to create 3,000 jobs by the mid-2030s and could be worth around £2 billion annually to the UK economy in exports.

Click here for more information on the University of Sheffield AMRC and how it works with industry.

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