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Mountain biking receives huge boost as multi-million pound borderlands inclusive growth deal signed

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The Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal has been signed, confirming millions of pounds of investment into the South of Scotland.
For mountain bikers the investment will include:

  •  £19m for an ambitious project to create the world’s first Mountain Bike Innovation Centre, integrated adventure Bike Park and Trail Lab in Innerleithen
  •  £5m to further develop the 7Stanes mountain biking network across the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway

Ministers of the UK and Scottish Governments and representatives of the five councils of the Borderlands Partnership signed the deal, which aims to drive inclusive growth and deliver significant and lasting benefits for individuals, businesses and communities, including up to 5,500 jobs.

Innerleithen Mountain Bike Innovation Centre/Tweed Valley Bike Park and Trail Lab

A key element of the Borderlands Growth Deal for the Scottish Borders is the development of a new mountain bike innovation centre in Innerleithen that will support Scottish, UK and international businesses to develop and test innovative products and services within mountain biking but also across the cycling sector. In addition, a Tweed Valley Adventure Bike Park and Trail Lab will be created in what is thought to be a global first in terms of combining tourism and innovation. 

An adventure bike park will invest in infrastructure including new trails, improved access and facilities to attract and sustainably manage visitors to the area.Borderlands Growth Deal will invest £19million in the project, which is predicted to contribute £141m in Gross Value Added (GVA) and over 400 new jobs in the South of Scotland. 

The project partnership includes South of Scotland Enterprise as project sponsors Scottish Borders Council, Edinburgh Napier University and Scottish Cycling, through Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland (DMBinS).

Ed Shoote of DMBinS, the Senior Project Manager of the Mountain Bike Project, said: “It is fantastic news that the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal, including the Mountain Bike Project, is pushing ahead. “The vision is for the South of Scotland to be recognised as the European leader in mountain biking and this is an important step forward. The innovation centre and adventure bike park will help grow the area’s profile and encourage sustainable business growth and development. The adventure bike park will deliver much-needed investment in infrastructure to manage the growing number of visitors to the area, while protecting and adding to the already fantastic trail network and attractions to ensure visitors spend more time in the area.” 

 “There is still a lot of work to do to realise this vision and we will continue to work with the project partners and the local community to deliver the best project for the region.” 

Councillor Mark Rowley added: “This project is a fantastic example of how projects funded by the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal can deliver multiple benefits, in this case attracting new businesses and jobs to the area and also attracting tourists from across the UK, Europe and beyond, building on the already well-established reputation of the Tweed Valley as one of the world’s top mountain biking destinations.”

Professor Nick Antonopoulos, Vice Principal for Research and Innovation at Edinburgh Napier University, said: “Today marks another important milestone for Edinburgh Napier and its partners in our journey towards making the South of Scotland the mountain bike capital of Europe. The Borderlands Growth Deal will build on the fantastic groundwork of the Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland, hosted by Edinburgh Napier University who have been supporting cycling innovation since 2012."

“This investment will take the work of the Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland to the next level, helping to drive innovation and support product research and development, whilst working with local and international companies. “Together, these projects will power commercial activity, attract inward investment and deliver positive outcomes in terms of public health and supporting carbon-neutral products and processes. “We are also hugely excited by the potential research opportunities for Edinburgh Napier colleagues across a range of academic disciplines, including exercise science, health and wellbeing, engineering, inclusion, product design, artificial intelligence, big data and tourism.”

South of Scotland Enterprise Chair, Russel Griggs OBE, added: “This is a transformational project which could really put the South of Scotland on the map as a global leader in the mountain-biking industry. “The potential wider economic and community benefits for the local area are significant in terms of inward investment and jobs. 

“I am delighted the South of Scotland Enterprise will be working with various partners to realise this ambition."

Published: 11/07//2021

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