Low carbon economy will bring economic opportunity

The transition to a low carbon economy will mean a massive shift in the way the country uses and produces energy, and will bring economic benefits of its own, the Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett said this week.

Speaking at the conference of the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC), Mrs Beckett said that the country should capitalise on the business opportunities that reducing carbon dioxide would bring.

The Energy Efficiency Action Plan, published this April, sets a clear framework for improving energy efficiency, and measures which we expect will save business and households over £3 billion per year, she said. We have raised the minimum standard for the energy performance of all new buildings by 25%. And, next year we ll raise it by another 25%, creating further opportunities for innovative energy saving and renewable technologies.

Mrs Beckett added that for the UK to sustain its growth in the coming decade, it must improve its ability to turn emerging technologies into innovative, high value products, processes and services.

There is no shortage of ideas. Rather, we are being held back by weaknesses in the way we bring new technologies and improved methods to the market, she said.

However, she pointed out that Defra and the DTI launched a refocused Environmental Industries Unit in April tasked with promoting innovation in the environmental industries.

This unit is guided by the Environmental Innovations Advisory Group (EIAG) composed of innovators drawn from the environmental industry. Working in partnership with government, regulators and business, the EIAG aims to overcome the weaknesses and reduce barriers to growth by demonstrating practical solutions, she said.

By David Hopkins

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