The Government has agreed to provide £3.2 million to support Fenland’s agri-tech industry.
The news has been welcomed all round with council chiefs saying it will play a vital role in boosting economic growth.
The bid is for a wide-ranging programme called the Eastern England Agri-Tech Growth Initiative. It was submitted to the Government’s Regional Growth Fund by the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (LEP), in conjunction with New Anglia LEP and will bring together leading agriculture, research, science and technology assets across Peterborough, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk.
Key elements include supporting the development and application of new technology in the food and agriculture business and enabling the development of essential skills.
Alan Melton, Leader of Fenland Council and Martin Curtis, leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, are delighted the bid has been successful.
Cllr Melton said: “We’re absolutely delighted that our joint efforts to secure this major investment have been successful. It’s great news for the whole area and for Fenland.
“Martin Curtis and I argued the case for it very strongly when we met David Willets, Minister for Universities and Science, with Fenland MP Steve Barclay earlier this year.
“Fenland is one of the major agricultural areas in the East of England. We recognise that agriculture is a highly skilled business these days and this will do a lot to increase our skills base here.”
Cllr Curtis said: “This is good news for Cambridgeshire and something we and partners have been working towards, including through the Wisbech 2020 Vision.
“This is about bringing the lab and the land together for the benefit of the whole of the county.
“It will help take ideas from the laboratory, being produced through the high-tech agricultural industry and research in Cambridge to the farmers of Fenland, where there is the best growing land in the country.
“By working with partners across the Eastern region we will be stimulating business in rural areas.”
Included in the 2020 Vision for Wisbech is the hope that an agricultural research centre could be built on derelict land on the Nene Waterfront Regeneration area.
It is hoped such a centre is something that will also happen in the future.