Ainsworth: Going green is essential for competitive economy

The UK must go green to rebuild the ailing economy and ensure its future global competitiveness - and the environmental industries will play a key role in building a low carbon economy.

That was the message from Shadow Environment Secretary Peter Ainsworth as he addressed the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC) in London.

He announced that in the New Year the Conservative Party is set to publish a paper setting out how the Tories will create a low carbon economy in the UK.

He said: “It will outline clearly the market signals and regulatory changes that are needed to increase energy efficiency in homes, businesses and in farms.

“It will show how new networks can be created for decentralised energy and the mass use of sustainable transport.

“It will address the barriers to reducing emissions and it will map the pathway to our ambition for a zero-waste Britain.”

Mr Ainsworth told delegates that the UK had lots of ambition and innovation but was so far failing to deliver low carbon technologies, particularly in comparison to countries such as Germany.

“The future of our economic competitiveness is inseparable from our environmental competitiveness,” he added.

“If we want more jobs in this country today, and economic advantage in the world tomorrow, we must develop our environmental industries.

“We need new industries rooted in new green, British workers with British know-how and scientific excellence behind them.”

New Business Secretary Peter Mandelson, who was also scheduled to appear at the conference, was unable to attend after being called into a meeting with the Prime Minister.

He was replaced by Hugh McNeal, director of Low Carbon Solutions at the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, who urged EIC members to take part in the development of Government’s Low Carbon Industrial Strategy.

“My challenge to you is get involved,” he said. “Come to consultation events if you can, let us know what opportunities exist for you and how we can help you to take advantage of them. Let us know the barriers you face and how we can help you get over them.”

Watch an extract from Peter Ainsworth’s speech to the EIC conference below.

Kate Martin

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