Thames Gateway "will go ahead as planned"

The Government will not water down its £9.6 billion project to regenerate the Thames Gateway region because of the economic crisis, the minister responsible for the scheme said today.

Housing minister Margaret Beckett insisted the region - stretching 40 miles on both sides of the Thames Estuary from Essex to east London was "in a strong position to weather the current economic storm and grow in the long term".

She announced plans for a new "eco-quarter" within the Gateway in which green technologies will be developed and tested, along with up to £35 million for parks and other open spaces within the region.

Mrs Beckett is attending the Thames Gateway Forum in east London today (Wednesday).

For a full report and analysis see Thursday's Echo.

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