Quaternary industry on the M4 corridor in the UK (MEDC)

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M4 corridor - Location and Examples of industry


The M4 corridor stretches from Heathrow airport in the east to Bath and Bristol in the west.

It contains many of the country's quarternary industries. These include electrical, food and car parts companies. It also has industries in reserach and processing of computer and telecommunications equipment.
E.g.Dell, LG, Vodafone and Microsoft.

These industries are described as being footloose.
They have generally grown up over the last 25 years in "growth areas", along communications routes.
The new industries actually employ few people in comparison to the older, declining, heavy industries. Traditional location factors have been super-seeded by newer ones.

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M4 corridor - Reasons for location


  • A high speed rail link follows the M4 corridor
  • Motorway system which allows easy access to all parts of the UK (M11,M23, M3)
  • Close access to the Channel Tunnel for EU market
  • Easy access to the 3 main airports (Heathrow, Gatwick and Stanstead) for international business links and product exportation
  • There is a wealthy market in the area to sell products to
  • Close to big universities (Bristol, Oxford, Reading) for a pool of highly skilled graduates/workforce for high tech jobs (research scientists and engineers)
  • Nearby universities provide research and development facilities
  • Nearby countryside for pleasent living for workers (Cotswolds)
  • Close proximity and good access to London, where the major government functions and financial trading occurs.
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M4 corridor - Reasons for Location 2


The concentration of other industries means that ideas and knowledge could be shared, there will be a concentration of suitable skilled labour and transport costs may be reduced by agglomerated industries.
Traditional location factors have been super-seeded by newer ones.

As access to raw materials is relatively unimportant nowadays, location, although dominated by communications considerations, also can increasingly take into account the social needs of its employees. Thus climatic, scenic, health and entertainment factors have to be included

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M4 corridor - Disadvantages and Definitions


  • Workers wanting to live near their place of work increases the demand for housing and puts pressure on green belt land.
  • As demand grows, house prices increase. This means that less skilled and lower paid workers are priced out of the market in desirable areas

Footloose - Few raw materials are used and therefore transport costs are low, resulting in the industries being Footloose 

Agglomeration - In urban economics, economies of agglomeration are the benefits that firms obtain by locating near each other. This concept relates to the idea of economies of scale and network effects. As more firms in related fields of business cluster together, their costs of production may decline significantly.

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