South East England Development Agency is Closing on March 31, 2012

The Government has announced that all Regional Development Agencies (RDAs), including SEEDA, will close by 31 March 2012.

Responsibility for economic development and regeneration in England is being passed onto successor bodies, including Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and central Government departments

Our objective is to ensure a professional and cost effective closure by this date.  We have pledged to work closely with our partners, contractors and stakeholders to ensure that the past and future economic benefits of key programmes and assets continue to deliver the greatest economic value for the South East and value for money for the taxpayer. 

Please click here for more details about our closure plan, transition arrangements and successor organisations.

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The presence of Gatwick airport, the UK's second busiest airport, and Heathrow immediately adjacent to the regional boundary, place the south East at the hub of the UK's international travel links.

The South East is the closest region to continental Europe, offering major international gateways which are vital to attract foreign investment and to maintain the region’s competitiveness. High speed train stations such as Ebsfleet and Ashford serve the Eurostar service to mainland Europe.

The major south coast ports, including Dover, Southampton and Portsmouth, as well as the Channel Tunnel, also help make the South East the natural access point to continental Europe.

Serving international as well as domestic destinations, there are regional airports - Kent International Airport, Shoreham Airport and Southampton Airport, and the South East contains 22% of the England motorway network and 14% of the England 'A' road network.

SEEDA’s involvement with transport has helped successfully lever more than £75million from European funding and national sources into the region for transport development schemes. These include:

  • The Gauge Enhancement of the Rail Route from Southampton to the West Midlands and the West Coast Main Line
  • SEEDA has led projects maximising the impact of the emerging High Speed Rail network (HST). Under the HSTconnect project, Dover Priory Station has been extensively refurbished.

In Ashford, the project is to develop public realm improvements that link the town centre to the station, with plans to improve and extend the International Station and to integrate both international and new high-speed domestic services at Ashford.

The Fastrack priority bus scheme links the new Ebbsfleet International station with surrounding communities in the heart of the Thames Gateway – Europe’s largest regeneration programme.

In Reading, an improved passenger interchange between rail and bus services has led plans for the major redevelopment of the station and rail improvements, which is now being funded by the government.

A new project, Rock (Regions of Connected Knowledge) builds on the HST projects’ success. It aims to improve railway networks connecting the knowledge regions of North West Europe.

In the M4 corridor, surface access improvements are made toward Heathrow airport from the West.

SEEDA has developed and led two port-related EU projects:

  • FINESSE (Freight Intermodality and Exchange on Sea and Straits in Europe)
  • IMPACTE (Intermodal Port Access & Commodities Transport in Europe) manages C2C (Connect to Compete).

These initiatives have involved the ports of Southampton, Portsmouth, Dover, Ramsgate and Shoreham to promote enhanced access to ports and sustainable distribution of freight.

In 2008, three small scale infrastructure investments were completed:

  • a container rail loading facility (Port of Southampton )
  • an Inter-modal railhead at Fratton (Port of Portsmouth)
  • a dredged Ro-Ro berth (Port of Ramsgate).

Two transport advancement schemes have been developed:

  • The Southampton to Nuneaton freight upgrade scheme, which will bring benefits to the region
  • The transfer of up to 50,000 container freight journeys a year from the Britain’s roads to the railway
  • Help reduce carbon emissions and ease traffic congestion on the road network
  • Rail can be a cheaper, quicker and a more practical way for businesses to transport their goods around the country and beyond.

There is also an action plan to re-instate a rail link to Dover Harbour (Dover Harbour Board, Network Rail, Intermodality)

Information Technology (IT)

The South East has a strong IT infrastructure, with a number of projects in place to increase broadband coverage in the region. At a sub-regional level, a number of local authorities are setting up public private partnerships to accelerate the availability, take-up and exploitation of ICT services to benefit the social and economic development of their area.

These partnerships are generally made up of committed organisations, both public and commercial, bringing together complementary skills and resources. The activities of each partnership are focused on specific objectives. For example:

  • homeworkers, teleworkers and microbusinesses
  • social inclusion groups
  • rural enterprises
  • e-learning.