Brown told to develop green jobs strategy

Gordon Brown is being urged to use emergency funds to support the UK's environmental industry and create more than 300,000 green jobs.

The Environmental Industries Commission (EIC) has launched a major lobbying campaign calling on the Prime Minister to use the 2009 Budget’s emergency spending measures to create a ‘green jobs strategy’ to tackle the recession.

Announcing the campaign at the House of Commons on Tuesday, the EIC said the move was needed urgently to stop the UK falling behind competitors such as Korea, Japan, Germany and the US, which have already launched ‘green new deals’.

In its own Green Jobs Growth Strategy: Investing for the Future report, the EIC recommends the creation of a £10bn ‘green jobs investment fund’.

This would include £6bn for an infrastructure fund to build 50,000 low-carbon social houses on brownfield sites, and cash for energy-efficiency retrofitting of family homes, schools and hospitals.

The trade association also wants to see long-term targets on pollution control – including a national framework of Low Emission Zones such as the one in London – and increased environmental research and development to match that of competitors such as Germany.

“The UK has only a small window of opportunity if British companies are not to be left behind in the international race to dominate international environmental markets,” Adrian Wilkes, chief executive of the EIC said.

“But the Government has no coherent strategy and the UK is falling behind.”

Other recommendations included using public procurement policies to develop markets for innovative environmental products, and supporting green jobs training across all Skills Councils.

Speaking to journalists at the Commons on Tuesday, Mr Wilkes said: “We are in a win-win situation. It’s time for our Government to get serious.”

Watch Conservative MP John Gummer give his opinions on the subject at the EIC’s Winter Reception at the House of Commons below.

Kate Martin

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