As we enter the final weeks of the year, this moment offers a perfect opportunity to reflect on Gravity’s journey to becoming the UK’s leading Smart Campus.
Gravity is anything but ordinary. By its very nature, it explores the ‘Art of the Possible.’ Already considered to be the UK’s flagship on the interplay between the technology and the physical campus estate, Gravity will lead the way in transforming the South West into a Clean Growth Economy. That means new challenges, new businesses and new opportunities.
In the two years since its inception, many significant milestones have been achieved. Gravity has been developing at speed, remediation is advanced, the Link Road is on schedule and some exciting companies are looking to Gravity to call home. We are building our own team, with partners, agents and advisors now in place, to create the capacity to shift into implementation and delivery. The team are delighted to support the work of Sedgemoor District Council and South West Heritage Trust all of whom are focused on capturing the history of the site and providing opportunities for old friends and colleagues to meet and reminisce.
Gravity is a strategic site in the UK context. It is a unique location offering a live lab and testbed for a new generation of intelligent energy and transport solutions and creating new employment opportunities. We are seeking funding partners to help us realise our ambitions, which include achieving a step-change in Smart Mobility, hosted at Gravity. We will also be collaborating with wider local authorities and agencies to support investment to tackle infrastructure priorities in Bridgwater and Taunton through the Housing Investment Fund. Only by working together, can we align ambition with investment and delivery to make a step-change in places that are future-proof.
Those who have heard me speak lately, will know the Clean Growth is the driving force for Gravity. We welcomed the news in September that the Climate Minister promised a much needed major revamp of the 2017 Clean Growth Strategy that set out how the UK plans to meet the government’s new 2050 net-zero emission target. But are their actions enough? This month saw the news that climate change could be irreversible by 2030 as we are using more of the earth’s resources than it can renew. If we carry on using the earth’s resources at our current rate of consumption, we’d need 1.7 planets to support the demand on the earth’s ecosystems. I find this incredibly worrying, and even more so, there is a call to arms for industries to protect our planet and move to zero emissions.
As we move into 2020, the need to reduce energy consumption and emissions presents a unique opportunity to use innovative energy solutions and clean technology at Gravity to achieve economic growth and sustainable development for Somerset and the South West. The immediate challenge for us and for all stakeholders along the Gravity value chain is to react fast enough to the change in consumers, technology and the climate. As we harness these changes and innovations, we believe we can help The South West better serve the needs of society and the environment.
Having broken ground on the site-unlocking access road in 2019, we envisage that 2020 will be the year that Gravity becomes the latest addition to the UK’s International Trade map, channelling investment into the South West. Whatever the outcome for Thursday, Gravity will continue to drive collaboration and partnerships between government, academia, the private sector and the community.
I hope you have a merry festive season and I look forward to updating you in the New Year on more of Gravity’s advancements for the UK and Great South West.
Co-CEO & Chairman, Martin Bellamy