Speaking at the UK Forum for Environmental Industries at the House of Commons on Tuesday, Ian Pearson said it was difficult to over-estimate the contribution those who could deliver environmental services and goods would play in the coming years.

“The UKFEI has a leading role to play in ensuring that all of the regions of the UK maximise the benefits this sector has to offer. UKFEI members understand their local businesses, the challenges they face, and the kind of support they need,” he said.

“The link between central and regional government and the businesses operating in the environmental goods and services sector is really bearing fruit and I firmly believe the sector is playing a leading role in helping Government deliver its climate change agenda.”

The UKFEI brought together representatives from environmental companies, universities, research bodies, MP’s and officials from the regions and devolved administrations.

Studies carried out for Defra and the DTI confirm that environmental industries are thriving across the UK, with benefits for both the environment and the economy.

Latest figures forecast that by 2010 the Environmental Goods and Services sector will have a global value of $688bn.

Today this sector in the UK has an estimated turnover of over £25 billion and the latest report from the cross-departmental Environmental Industries Unit estimates that this turnover will increase to over £34 billion by 2010, and £46 billion by 2015 – showing the sector has the potential to almost double in 10 years.

In terms of jobs, the figures are just as impressive. There are currently around 17,000 companies in the sector, employing 400,000 people in the UK. The Treasury has estimated that a further 100,000 jobs could be created over the next 10 years.

Barry Sheerman MP who is hosting the UKFEI event at the House of Commons said: “The UK’s pioneering environmental technologies sector tackles some of our most pressing environmental problems. It is also increasingly a prime generator of sustainable jobs, skills and future prosperity.

“The UKFEI is well placed to ensure organisations and companies take advantage of the opportunities to help the UK realise its potential and become a world leader in this area.”

Sam Bond

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