Government’s low carbon focus must not eclipse rest of environmental sector

In the drive to tackle carbon emissions Government is in danger of overlooking the value of key industries in the environmental sector that are vital if we want to build a truly sustainable economy.

This is the message of a campaign launched this week by the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC) as it seeks to highlight the environment is wider than the single issue of climate change.

It claims that there is a danger in sidelining areas such as contaminated land remediation, waste, water and air pollution.

Without support for these industries, says the EIC, Government will fail to deliver on its vision of a low carbon, resource efficient economy.

This issue must be addressed by extending Government’s forthcoming Low Carbon Industrial Strategy to promote the whole of the UK’s environmental industry.

According to the EIC there are several sectors where Britain currently has a greater competitive advantage than in those that focus purely on carbon reduction, and a narrow Government strategy risks squandering this global edge.

“EIC welcomes the Government’s new industrial activism and the development of a new Low Carbon Industrial Strategy setting out how the Government plans to support the development of a UK based low carbon goods and services sector,” said the trade association’s policy director Danny Stevens.

“But a narrow vision risks putting the UK at 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 the UK’s environmental industry wins the lions’ share of future global markets – otherwise Britain will miss out and allow our international competitors to seize these huge new markets.”

Sam Bond

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