Regional development gets smart and sustainable

England's Regional Development Agencies have published a list of their environmental successes and efforts they are making to ensure sustainable development - while promoting economic growth.

In the past year the nine RDA’s claim they have led by example, helping to meet the Government’s sustainability goals while creating 100,000 new jobs, securing over £750 million of private investment and bringing 1,000 hectares of brownfield land back into use.

The report, Smart Productivity, seeks to demonstrate that economic growth and sound environmental practice can go hand in hand – and even complement one another.

Richard Ellis, chairman of the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) said: “Sustainable development is key to the work of all regional development agencies.

“Our unique role within the regions gives us the opportunity to plan for long term gain rather than quick fixes. By encouraging business to make better use of their resources, fostering innovation to get more from less and providing the workforce with the right skills, we can truly say we are leading the sustainability economic growth agenda.”

Among the examples that highlight the RDAs’ work around the country are their promotion of wind power in the east of England, finding new uses recycled glass in London, supporting wood chip fuel production in Northumberland and setting up energy efficiency support in the north west.

“The examples in Smart Productivity demonstrate the many areas on which we lead and how the RDAs are trying to do things differently,” said Mr Ellis.

“We still have a long journey to make towards creating a low carbon economy, but I am very hopeful that we are getting closer.”

Environment Minister Ian Pearson added: “Faced with the increasing pressures on our environment and natural resources, it is essential that we move towards a pattern of more sustainable economic growth.

“This is an exciting time for innovation and creativity. England’s Regional Development Agency’s are central to the regions’ delivery and this publication illustrates exactly how RDAs are achieving economic success in a way that delivers our key UK goals on sustainable development – thus turning the philosophy of smart productivity into reality.

“I hope this publication inspires further innovative work in the regions.”

Sam Bond

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