Manufacturers warn UK could miss out on £880bn green growth

British manufacturers have warned that UK green technology output is “faltering” and the country could miss out on a potential £880 billion boost to the economy by 2050. A new […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

British manufacturers have warned that UK green technology output is “faltering” and the country could miss out on a potential £880 billion boost to the economy by 2050.

A new report by the manufacturers’ organisation EEF suggests the UK is the sixth and largest producer and provider of low carbon goods and services, with £112 billion in sales every year but claims the nation’s position is in danger due to the decrease in output in 2010/11.

The organisation believes the current policies in the UK are “too fragmented” and measures need to be put into place to fulfil the country’s innovation potential, ensure the industry has access to the right skills, obtain the finance to invest in decarbonisation technology and have competitively priced electricity.

The manufacturers are calling on the Government to give it the “clarity and predictability” needed to invest in the nation’s low carbon economy by setting a vision on how the industry can deliver it by the end of the year. This, the EEF suggests, would help UK manufacturers take advantage of opportunities to export these solutions to the rest of the world.

Gareth Stace, EEF Head of Climate and Environment Policy said: “The low carbon economy represents a massive opportunity for manufacturers and a major prize for our economy. If we can build an early lead in key areas we have the chance to export our solutions to the rest of the world.

“But we are currently failing to take advantage of this opportunity to be a world leader in low carbon goods and services. We need government to set out its vision of manufacturing’s place in the low carbon economy, focus more on innovation and provide greater regulatory stability and predictability to unlock investment in breakthrough technologies that will deliver it.”

The report also showed the UK is placed towards the bottom of the OECD countries in Government research and spending on energy and climate related research and development (R&D) projects. According to the EEF, the nation is spending just over 1% of its R&D budget on energy against the average of almost 4%.

The report claims manufacturers are already investing in green growth, with six in 10 firms developing new processes to improve their own environmental performance. More than half of large companies are also developing new products to help them and their customers manage climate and environmental issues.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) said it is determined to “seize the significant opportunities” and is working closely with the industry on strategies in the low carbon sector. A spokesperson added: “These are looking at how Government and industry can support skills, R&D and encourage investment. That’s why we’ve set up the UK Green Investment Bank to accelerate private sector investment. And that’s why we’re investing in R&D programmes for the future.”