Somerset County Council

Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership


Delivering growth and prosperity across Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay.

The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has been formed under the leadership of the private sector supported by the local authorities from Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay to create a powerful economic alliance. Our objectives are to create new jobs, raise productivity levels and increase our average wages.

The group has been working on the plans since November last year, and has been consulting with the business community, public sector, political figures as well as charity and social enterprise organisations.

Latest news
The Heart of the South West Enterprise Partnership has recently submitted a bid to Government for a Low Carbon Energy Enterprise Zone. Enterprise Zones are intended to create new jobs and strengthen local economies. To assist them the Government will provide a range of benefits including business rate discounts and a simplified planning process.

The Low Carbon Energy Enterprise Zone bid focuses on opportunities from nuclear power in Somerset, Solar PV in Torbay and the Atlantic Array offshore windfarm in northern Devon. In Somerset, the Puriton site near Bridgwater will provide a focus for inward investment in the nuclear power supply chain and kick start the regeneration of a major brownfield site. The proposals could create up to 3,200 jobs by April 2017 in Puriton alone.

Further information about the proposals are available from the HoSW website or within the bid submission which can be downloaded from the resources section to the right of this page. Further general information on Enterprise Zones is available from the BIS website at

With a diverse economy, our area has many strengths, including: outstanding expertise in low carbon energy generation (notably nuclear power and renewables), the defence sector, marine and maritime industries. We have an exceptional landscape and coastline, including two National Parks, providing an unrivalled tourism experience and quality of life.

We also have two world class universities and excellent further education colleges helping to provide a skilled workforce and a growing knowledge base. For example, our area has the highest concentration of climate change and environmental researchers and experts in Europe. Small and micro businesses make up a significant part of our business sector and demonstrate the depth of our entrepreneurial spirit.

Our economy does face a number of challenges however, in terms of lower than average wages, productivity levels and distance from market.

Our dispersed economic geography, with few, but important, urban centres increases our reliance on critical infrastructure and key services. Overcoming significant transport and logistic issues, as well as planning constraints is vital for businesses to thrive and attract new investment. Rapidly accelerating the roll out of superfast broadband is crucial to our future economic success. We have a high dependence on the public sector for employment so there is a very real need for our LEP to address the rebalancing of our economy.

Harnessing the expertise from across the private and public sector in our LEP will create a focused and effective strategic body that will tackle these issues. We will work in tandem with our partners, other LEPs and Government to achieve the best for businesses and residents of Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay.


Contact: Economy and Planning
Address: Somerset County Council, County Hall, Taunton, TA1 4DY
Phone: 0300 123 2224

Opening Hours: Monday 8am to 6pm, Tuesday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm Saturday and Sunday closed.

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