The Low Carbon Industrial Strategy, launched today, sets out the action the Government is taking to ensure that British businesses and workers are equipped to maximise the economic opportunities and minimise the costs of the transition to a low carbon economy.
The strategy follows from Building Britain’s Future: New Industry, New Jobs, and sets out how the Government aims to ensure that the transition to low carbon is a source of quality jobs and business savings in Britain: from our rapidly developing civil nuclear industry and renewable energy sector, to energy saving in our smallest SMEs.
The strategy identifies a range of low carbon sectors with potential for job creation and growth. These include: wave and tidal power; civil nuclear power; offshore wind; and ultra-low carbon vehicles. It also sets out the Government’s strategy for removing barriers that are blocking the development of Britain’s full potential in these areas.
The strategy recognises that local and regional strengths offer a good foundation to realise future economic benefits for Britain. The first Low Carbon Economic Area in the South West of England will create a business and skills focus on marine energy demonstration, servicing and manufacture.
The strategy also sets out the first investments from the £405 million for low carbon industries and advanced green manufacturing announced at Budget 2009. Key investments include:
• Up to £60 million to capitalise on Britain’s wave and tidal sector strengths, including investment in Wave Hub – the development of a significant demonstration and testing facility off the Cornish coast – and other funding to make the South West Britain’s first Low Carbon Economic Area.
• Up to £15 million capital investment in order to establish a Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre consisting of a consortium of manufacturers from the UK nuclear supply chain and universities.
• A £4 million expansion of the Manufacturing Advisory Service, to provide more specialist advice to manufacturers on competing for low carbon opportunities, including support for suppliers for the civil nuclear industry.
• Up to £10 million for the accelerated deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
• Up to £120 million to support the development of a British based offshore wind industry.
The strategy also recognises that there are challenges for the workforce particularly for those in high carbon industries. The Government will create a new Forum for a Just Transition to advise on how to address the issues, with representatives from Central Government, national, local and regional bodies, Trade Unions, business organisations, and third sector bodies.
Announcing the strategy Business Secretary Peter Mandelson said:
“There is no high carbon future. But if the transition to low carbon is inevitable, what is not inevitable is that we use the transition as a chance to develop new jobs, new industries here in Britain. This strategy builds on the New Industry New Jobs approach, outlining the strategic role the government will play alongside the private sector, to make the most of the potential benefits for innovation, growth and job creation in the UK.
“Low carbon and environmental goods and services are already worth £3 trillion to the global economy, and in the UK employ nearly 900,000 directly and through the supply chain. With the sector set to grow by over 4% per annum over the next six years we must do all we can to support British businesses and workers in benefitting. Today we are announcing the first investments under the £405M funding allocated in the budget. We must ensure that we equip businesses and the workforce with the capabilities and skills to take advantage of the potential benefits as the world moves towards a low carbon future.”