Improving the area’s utilities infrastructure was discussed at our summit in July.

Improving and future-proofing the area’s utilities infrastructure was top of the agenda at the first Greater Lincolnshire Utilities Summit in July.

Seventy key figures from business, utilities, national government and local councils came together at Lindum Business Park in North Hykeham to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing the utilities sector.

Access to water, gas and electricity is one of the main issues facing businesses in Greater Lincolnshire, and in some cases development and investment opportunities have been lost because of the poor provision and cost of utilities in some areas.

The aim of the summit was to start a conversation about how the utilities infrastructure can be improved and to enable delegates to contribute to the utilities study which the Greater Lincolnshire LEP is carrying out in partnership with local authorities.

The study will look at the capacity of Greater Lincolnshire’s utilities infrastructure to support existing and future growth over the next 20 years, and we expect to publish our report in October.

“As the Government shapes its Industrial Strategy, we believe that a long-term strategy that can accommodate existing growth and future-proof the utilities capacity of our area is a reasonable goal,” said Ursula Lidbetter MBE, Chair of the LEP.

“We were able to hear views about utilities from the business community and explored what could be the solutions for further investment in provision.

“We were particularly pleased to welcome Dr Caroline Johnson MP, the MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham, who kindly came along to the event on behalf of the Lincolnshire MPs.”

The half-day summit began with a series of talks by key individuals from the utilities sector,  including Ryan Kavanah from Western Power Distribution, Jim Cardwell from Northern Power Grid, Darren Rice from Anglian Water, Stuart Easterbrook from Cadent and Olivia Powis from the regulator Ofgem.

Delegates then took part in a breakout session to discuss the issues before feeding back to the rest of the meeting.

The event ended with a question and answer panel.

Ursula added: “We would now like to present our findings to all Greater Lincolnshire MPs and explore ways in which we can raise the profile of the utilities challenge we are all facing.

“We want to explore ways to move this up the Government’s agenda and support our ambitions for growth.”