Government’s New Low Carbon Industrial Strategy’s “Narrow Vision Risks Putting the UK at a Competitive Disadvantage”

Posted: Tuesday 28th July 2009

The Government will fail to achieve its “vision” of creating a low carbon, resource efficient economy led by UK businesses unless its forthcoming Low Carbon Industrial Strategy is extended to set out acomprehensive framework for promoting the whole of the UK’s environmental industry – embracing the technologies needed to tackle contaminated land, waste, water and air pollution.

This is the message of a new report and lobbying campaign launched today by the Environmental Industries Commission which is calling on the Government to urgently extend the Low Carbon Industry Strategy to set out a comprehensive framework for putting the whole UK environmental industry at the heart of what is already a $3 trillion global environmental market place (and growing rapidly at over 5% a year).

The purpose of the forthcoming Low Carbon Industrial Strategy will be set out Government support for areas of the low carbon goods and services sector “where theUKhas the potential to take a leading global role”.

The new Government Strategy will embrace many of the policies (on regulation, R&D and export support) proposed earlier in 2009 in “EIC’s Green Jobs Growth Strategy” – but it is likely to ignore successful and important sectors (waste, water and air pollution control technologies) of the wider environmental industry where British companies have the potential to “take a leading global role” - in favour of sectors that the Government’s own analysis shows are less competitive and have a far lower growth potential. This will inevitably put theUKput at a competitive disadvantage in the race to dominate global environmental markets, forfeiting the potential to create thousands of newUKbusiness and hundreds of thousands of green collar jobs.

Commenting on the launch of the campaign, EIC’s Policy Director, Danny Stevens, said: “EIC welcomes the Government’s new industrial activism and the development ofa new Low Carbon Industrial Strategy setting out how the Government plans to support the development of aUKbased low carbon goods and services sector. But a narrow vision risks putting theUKat competitive disadvantage by ignoring other key environmental technologies.”

“Climate change is by no means the only important environmental issue, and low-carbon is by no means the only important aspect of developing a green economy. There is a danger that the emphasis on “low carbon” will obscure other environmental and sustainability issues – forfeiting the huge economic opportunities they will be created by developing technologies to tackle waste, water and air pollution”

The UK’s future competitiveness depends on establishing a world-leading environmental industry, with thousands of new business, hundreds of thousands of new jobs and huge export potential.The Government needs to be serious about ensuring theUK’s environmental industry wins the lions’ share of future global markets - otherwiseBritainwill miss out and allow our international competitors to seize these huge new markets.”

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