Shropshire Star

River Severn Partnership wins £3.75m funding to boost wireless innovation

The Government is providing millions of pounds to "support the growth of wireless innovation and technology" in the River Severn catchment area.

The River Severn in Shrewsbury

The River Severn Partnership (RSP), which is made up of the eight English and Welsh councils that cover the river's catchment area, is one of 10 'UK Innovation Regions' to be given funding.

The partnership has been given £3.75m by the Government to support economic growth across the catchment area.

The Innovation Region project seeks to boost internet connectivity and advance technology in the RSP's rural industries, water management and public services.

Mark Barrow, Shropshire Council’s executive director of place, who also chairs the partnership, said it was “excellent news" and "a real boost for technology" across the catchment area.

He added: “This funding will help us as an Innovation Region to demonstrate, prove and drive adoption of new digital products and services that support public services, while helping key enterprises in water management and rural industries to explore and exploit digital innovation.”

Sir John Whittingdale, Minister of Data and Digital Infrastructure, said it was about "more than just linking smartphones".

He said: “We’re channelling millions into local areas to unlock the potential of cutting-edge 5G wireless and digital technologies which will reshape our public services, drive economic growth and boost innovation.

"This new fund will give local areas from across the country the opportunity to be at the forefront of Britain’s world-leading 5G revolution.

“For instance, by using 5G for farming and creating science parks, we’re not just helping local communities, but also encouraging new ideas all over the UK.

"It’s about using powerful digital connections to transform various sectors in the economy and the public sector throughout the entire country.”

The River Severn Partnership involves Shropshire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Monmouthshire, Powys, Telford & Wrekin, Warwickshire and Worcestershire councils, covers 6,000 square miles in England and Wales and has a population of around 2.6 million people.