Britain’s Energy Coast

Britain’s Energy Coast


DragonGate has a long relationship with BEC (formerly, Britain’s Energy Coast) through the work they did in designing a public service hub in West Cumbria. DragonGate was tasked with identifying how, in addition to supporting local public services, West Cumbria could support an innovation cluster that acted as a magnet for growth for the region’s existing strengths in clean energy. ‘Industrial Evolution’ was the vision that DragonGate developed, and the report included an action plan for the Civil Service, Local Government, and Industry to take the vision forward. This was delivered in the summer of 2019 and was a vision for ‘levelling up’ long before this became government policy.


Industrial Evolution: The West Cumbria Position Paper for Clean Growth

West Cumbria is a region of contrasts. Home to some of the UK’s most beautiful scenery, an international centre of excellence for nuclear energy management and the world’s largest offshore windfarm, it also boasts the third highest median weekly wages in the UK. Wealth is highly concentrated in certain sectors, however, and low productivity and poor health characterise much of the region.

A shared vision was urgently required to align, capture, and prioritise investment opportunities for clean growth. The window of opportunity was closing rapidly as other regions developed their own proposals, so a robust, actionable vision was essential for three audiences:

  • Global and national investors to appreciate unique growth opportunities
  • Local stakeholders to be empowered
  • Government stakeholders to have confidence to invest
Scope of Areas to Address
  • There are four interrelated areas that are significant in formulating any vision for West Cumbria
    • International and national barriers to Clean Growth, including nuclear safety:
    • Regional investment requirements, including skills, education, and infrastructure
    • Demographic challenge, and;
    • Clear and defined leadership
  • Many of these are defined by disparities, where strong KPIs overshadow ‘cold spots’ of deprivation
  • All stakeholders need to be honest in appreciating the complexity of these challenges and understand their role in addressing them
  • The current trajectory of these major challenges demonstrates the urgent need for a robust, actionable vision
Opportunities for Growth
  • West Cumbria is world leading in three areas:
    • Nuclear management
    • Energy transformation (specifically offshore wind)
    • High-value manufacturing
  • Combined, these three sectors contribute more than £5 billion to the west Cumbrian economy and support over 60,000 jobs in the region
  • With its expertise in decommissioning, West Cumbria can growth into a centre of excellence for decommissioning projects across the globe
  • There are opportunities with new and emerging technologies that will need to be capitalised on such as SMRs and Heat Networks
Demonstrator Project

As part of producing an actionable vision, DragonGate proposed a Demonstrator Project which was aimed at channelling focussed investment, delivered in a safe business environment fulfilling identified business needs. The Project specific aligns west Cumbria’s large business needs with those of SMEs, the workforce, and residents, improving health, wealth, and life chances for those in the region.

The project was designed to be the first, and necessary, step in developing an evidence-based vision for West Cumbria. It will serve as a magnet to attract investment particularly from those companies who will complement the region’s existing strength. The Project will provide a major boost for SMEs, enabling them to capitalise on large industries’ changing priorities. Once its success is proven, it can be replicated in other locations in the region and country who are in need or similar evolution.


Our Developments – Britain’s Energy Coast