Scottish borers could be “global leader” in mountain biking thanks to deal


£19 MILLION of funding has been announced for a world first mountain biking innovation centre after a  multi-million pound deal signed today has confirmed funding for the Scottish borders.

The Borderlands Inclusive Growth deal was signed today by the UK and Scottish Governments , along with councils aiming to drive inclusive growth and deliver lasting benefits for communities.

As well as ambitiously aiming to create the world’s first mountain biking innovation centre the deal could create up to 5,500 jobs in the borders.

Caerlee Mill - 3D Visualisation - Business News Scotland
A 3D visualization of the proposed Mountain Bike Innovation Centre

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 innovative products and services within mountain biking and across the cycling sector.

In addition, a Tweed Valley 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 deliver infrastructure to attract and sustainably manage visitors to the Scottish Borders.

The Borderlands Growth Deal will invest £19m 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).

A person mountain biking - Business News Scotland
(Credit Trev Worsey) The new funding will see millions delivered to mountain biking and could see thousands of jobs created

Councillor Mark Rowley, Scottish Borders Council’s Executive Member for Economic Regeneration and Finance, said: “This deal can transform the Scottish Borders, allowing multiple, large scale projects to be taken forward by the Council and a wide range of partners, delivering new jobs and sustainable growth which will help support the region for decades to come.

Speaking on the development of the Mountain Bike Innovation Centre Councillor 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.”

Other large areas of investment included: £11m for the Destination Tweed tourism project based around the River Tweed, as well as funding to further develop the 7Stanes mountain biking network across the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway. 

Additionally a share of £20m will be available for for town and community improvement projects through a Place Programme in the south of Scotland. 

£10m will also be used to deliver the feasibility activity around extending the Borders Railway from Tweedbank to Carlisle. 

ULT portrait - Nick Antonopoulos - Business News Scotland
Nick Antonopoulos, Vice Principal of Research and Innovation at Edinburgh Napier University

Professor Nick Antonopoulos, Vice Principal for Research and Innovation at Edinburgh Napier University, said: “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 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.”

South of Scotland Enterprise Chair, Russel Griggs OBE spoke on how he thinks the deal could make the South of Scotland a global leader in mountain biking

Mr Griggs said : “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, as well as bringing further UK and international tourism to the region.