Green shoots

A report from the Energy and Climate Change Committee states that low carbon technologies will create jobs and reduce CO2 emissions.

However, the ’Low carbon technologies in a green economy’ report warns that the government must act faster if the UK is to enjoy the economic benefits of the green economy.

The report says that to date there has been slow progress with the move towards a green economy and concludes that whilst development of many such technologies will require significant support from both the public and private sector, they have the potential to create jobs.

The Environmental Industries Commission (EIC) estimates the global environmental marketplace to be worth over £3.2tn.

NESTA believes that by 2013 the green economy is forecast to grow annually by seven per cent, with a UK market of £46bn; creating a million jobs.

By 2015, the ECCC says the sector could grow by 44 per cent to over 1.27 million jobs.

Last week’s announcement from the chancellor of the creation of a Green Investment Bank – mandated to invest approximately £2bn of public and private sector capital in the low-carbon sector – received a cautious welcome.

The EIC stated that by limiting the bank’s mandate to the low carbon sector, the government risks forfeiting investment opportunities that exist across the whole of the environmental sector.

The EIC further warns that unless urgent action is taken to secure other, equally important, environmental and sustainability investment opportunities for British business, it is likely the transition to a low carbon, resource efficient economy will take place with technologies supplied from countries including Germany, the USA, Japan and South Korea.

Figures from NESTA show that the USA is blazing a green-tech trail. Last year’s US stimulus package included $50bn for energy programmes, much of it focused on energy efficiency and renewable energy, and $20bn in tax incentives for renewable energy and efficiency.

According to NESTA, the effects of not investing in green technology will cost the UK £28bn in lost revenue.

The automotive industry is bracing itself for the end of the government’s vehicle scrappage scheme, which is due to end on March 31.

The scheme was announced by chancellor Alistair Darling in his Budget statement in April 2009 and commenced on 18 May to help the UK car industry stimulate demand during the economic downturn.

The funding for the scheme was increased by £100m in September 2009. Last month, the end of the scheme was extended by a month to the end of March from end of February.

The SMMT say the Scrappage Incentive Scheme accounted for a 30 per cent rise in sales against expectations.

The knock-on effects of the end of the scheme are already being felt by Toyota which is today suspending production at its Burnaston plant in Derbyshire for two weeks.

The company employs around 3,500 people at the plant, which makes the Auris and Avensis models. The company has said that the stoppage is to allow supply to align with demand following the end of car scrappage schemes across Europe and to prepare the production line for when the Auris Hybrid goes into production later this year.