Investment zones ‘won’t harm environment’, claims Andrew Jones MP
Last updated Oct 18, 2022
Potter Space Ripon business park and Andrew Jones

Harrogate and Knaresborough Conservative MP Andrew Jones has rejected claims that investment zones could harm the environment.

North Yorkshire County Council revealed last week it had submitted expressions of interest to the government to create investment zones at three Harrogate district sites.

They are Harrogate Convention Centre, junction 47 of the A1 and Potter Space Ripon, a business park at Junction 50 of the A1.

The zones will benefit from liberalised planning laws and tax incentives for businesses, which has sparked concerns from environmental groups such as the Wildlife Trusts that they will put wildlife and wild spaces at risk.

But Mr Jones told the House of Commons this week:

“These are sites where we have existing commercial activity which were already earmarked for further investment. Investment zones give us the opportunity to lever in funding from the government.

“I understand that individuals and some groups were concerned that the new investment zones would see the development of huge swathes of countryside. I would not have supported their introduction were that the case.

“But it is clear from the sites that are being brought forward that this is far from the case”

Read more:

Green Party rejects Mr Jones’ claims

Paul Ko Ferrigno, Green Party.

Paul Ko Ferrigno

But Harrogate and District Green Party prospective parliamentary candidate Paul Ko Ferrigno criticised Mr Jones’ stance.

“Like his government, Mr Jones has had 12 long years to establish his green credentials, and it is on that track record that he must be judged, not some aspirational scheme that has been rushed in so quickly that councillors have not been given time to scrutinise the detail.

“It isn’t even clear that these investment zones are needed because we haven’t been told which regulations are potentially holding schemes back.”

Business support

Lilla Bathurst, manager of Ripon Business Improvement District, backed the county council’s submission. She said:

“Whilst the Potter Space is outside the Ripon BID area, we welcome any investment into the Ripon city region.

“The potential for more businesses and employment in the area, and therefore further footfall and spend in our BID businesses, can only be a positive and we fully support Cllr Carl Les and North Yorkshire County Council in their submission.”

However, the North Yorkshire branch of Unison took a different view: