To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has had discussions with (a) the UK Hydrographic Office, (b) the Heart of South West LEP and (c) other partners on establishing a world-leading marine geospatial innovation centre in Taunton, and if he will make a statement.
The Department has had no specific discussions about the establishment of a Marine Geospatial Innovation Centre but I am aware of discussions happening locally, building on a regional initiative to establish a Digital Innovation Centre in Taunton. The UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) has been working with the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, Taunton Deane Borough and Somerset County Councils, and local academia to scope the feasibility of developing a Marine Geospatial Innovation Centre. The Department is engaged in discussions led by the Defence Growth Partnership to better coordinate and enhance local and regional expertise. Both the UKHO and the Heart of the South West LEP have been engaged in these discussions.