2.3 Derby’s role in a metropolitan economy

Derby’s economy does not operate in isolation from its immediate environment.

Together, Derby and Nottingham not only form one of the UK’s most important urban areas, but one of the top 30 population centres in Europe[iii] . Derby and Nottingham are closely linked – over 40,000 people regularly commute less than 20 miles across the M1 – and offer very complementary economies – with world class strengths in bioscience, creative industries and advanced manufacturing.  Both cities are predicted to have more young people living in them in the future, in contrast to the national trend of an ageing population.

Each city takes equal benefit from the strong transport connectivity offered by the proximity to the M1, and the A52 Brian Clough Way which links the two. The Nottingham tram system is accessible within just 6 miles of the boundary of the City of Derby – and this location, the village of Toton, will be the location of the proposed East Midlands Hub HS2 Station. The completion of the station, due in 2033, will bring rail journey times to London of just 51 minutes, compared to current times of 1 hour 30 minutes to Derby and 1 hour 45 minutes to Nottingham via the Midland Main Line.

The 2017 Derby Transport Strategy outlines the following vision for the economic infrastructure between the cities:

By 2040 Derby and Nottingham will be closer integrated with increased levels of commuting between both cities as a consequence of more seamless and integrated links and networks, focused upon the regional hubs in Derby, Nottingham, and at HS2 in Toton. [iv].

More than ever, the two City Councils are working collaboratively on economic development strategy – particularly on how the cities work together to promote themselves, trade, and attract investment in a competitive global environment. The Derby & Nottingham Metropolitan Strategy 2030 and related Metropolitan Economic Plan establishes the shared commitment of both cities to work together across five key themes outlined below.  It is widely recognised that strong cities drive strong economies. By working more closely with Nottingham we can make Derby even better and vice versa.

Box 2.c Summary of the Derby and Nottingham Metro Strategy  
The Metropolitan Strategy and Action Plan has five big ambitions over the next 15 years:

Metro Enterprise – Promoting Derby and Nottingham world-wide to attract new investment; supporting businesses to innovate, diversify, find new markets, increase productivity and strengthen supply chain

Metro Talent – Enhancing leadership, knowledge and creativity of skilled workers; nurturing young people to be ready for work in the 21st century

Connected Metro – Improving accessibility to the cities through shared development of our transport corridors, application of new transport technologies and better integration with our superb rail and airport interchanges

Metro Living  – Providing a range of exciting and accessible opportunities for a modern urban lifestyle, befitting of a world-class urban area, where residents can live, earn and play through a wide range of sporting and cultural activities

Efficient Metro – Protecting and improving public services for all our Metropolitan citizens.


[iii] Derby and Nottingham Metropolitan Strategy 2030. Action Plan. p1

[iv] Derby City Council (2017). Draft Transport Strategy. p33