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Solent LEP commits to Building a Brighter Future for Solent Communities

07 April 2022

A commitment to continue as the catalyst for a brighter economic future for the Solent based on green growth, skills and innovation was the clear message from Solent Local Enterprise Partnership Board Directors and Members at the Annual General Meeting held this week (6 April 2022).

At the AGM, Brian Johnson announced he would be stepping down as Chair of the Solent LEP as he has been formally appointed to the role of Chair of the Solent Freeport for the next three years after a Government approved open recruitment process. Rachael Randall, Solent LEP Deputy Chair, will be stepping in to lead the LEP as Interim Chair.

New Solent LEP Chair, Rachael Randall, said: "I am very much looking forward to taking on the role and helping further cement the Solent's trajectory of long-term growth while supporting the Government's Levelling Up ambitions. Brian leaves the LEP in a very strong position after 8 years of exceptional service and we look forward to continuing to work closely with him in his new role as Solent Freeport Chair."

"Throughout the challenges faced by businesses and communities over the last two years, the Solent LEP has continued to champion the region's economic prosperity, work collaboratively with partners and ensure the voice of business is heard. We have helped businesses across the Solent economy through the essential support we offer and, as we move forward from the challenges of recent years, the Solent LEP's role is even more critical for the long-term economic well-being of our region."

Two of the Solent LEP's major achievements this year were recently recognised by Government in the Levelling Up White Paper: developing the Solent Freeport and establishing Maritime UK Solent.

Brian Johnson, outgoing Chair of the Solent LEP and Chair of Solent Freeport Consortium Ltd, said: "I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as Chair of the Solent LEP and being part of the team which brought together partner organisations to produce a combined, regional bid for the Solent Freeport. This successful, collaborative approach will ensure a freeport in our region will unlock billions of pounds’ worth of investment, create tens of thousands of new jobs and level up our important coastal communities."

The Solent LEP received national recognition at this year's Maritime UK Awards, winning the Award for 'Clean Maritime Enabler', recognising the LEP's support of the University of Portsmouth’s Centre for Enzyme Innovation, and the Horizon cruise terminal at the Port of Southampton. The University's project has achieved global recognition as a world-leading resource to develop solutions for the breakdown of plastics, whilst the terminal supports a shift to a cleaner cruise industry, enabling ships to ‘plug into’ state-of-the-art green shore power.

The LEP will shortly be recruiting for additional Board Directors and intends to recruit a new Chair in the summer.

Read full details of the Solent LEP's achievements in 2021 in the Solent LEP Annual Report 2021.