Industry heavyweights welcome UK government’s Business Industrial Strategy
Green organisations have welcomed the UK government’s Business Industrial Strategy.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May launched new proposals for a new industrial strategy yesterday (23 January, 2017), which included a focus on “affordable energy and clean growth”.
The green paper also set out technologies where Britain has strengths in research and development which could be supported through the government’s new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, including: smart energy technologies; robotics and artificial intelligence, and 5G mobile network technology.
The Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) has today welcomed the publication of the government’s Green Paper ‘Building Our Industrial Strategy’ and will be setting out over the next few months how AD can play a central role in helping UK industry to flourish.
ADBA chief executive Charlotte Morton said: “We welcome the government’s green paper and in particular the focus on investing in science, research and innovation, which is key to unlocking the full potential of the biogas industry worldwide.
“We estimate that a government investment of £50m over 5-7 years in a Centre for Anaerobic Biotechnology and Bioresources Research would provide the initiative to deliver a step change in the rate of development of anaerobic biotechnology, putting the UK at the heart of this £1 trillion (€1.15trillion) global industry.”
“AD can make an enormous long-term contribution to UK manufacturing and the low-carbon economy, and we look forward to making this case to Government and others over the coming months to ensure that the bioeconomy is central to the UK’s Industrial Strategy moving forward.”
The Environmental Services Association (ESA), the voice for the UK’s resource and waste management industry, also welcomed the government’s new strategy.
ESA’s executive director Jacob Hayler said: “ESA welcomes today’s Green Paper on a new industrial strategy and in particular the government’s recognition of the role which resource efficiency can play in improving productivity and growth in the UK economy.
“We look forward to working with government both on this strategy and on Defra’s 25 Year Environmental Plan, to introduce policies which promote sustainable markets for secondary raw materials and which encourage investment in much-needed infrastructure to improve the way the UK’s wastes are turned into productive resources and energy.”
“It’s a step in the right direction, but it contradicts current government policies,” said Mike Foster, chief executive of the Energy and Utilities Alliance.
Foster added: “Whilst we are encouraged that the government recognise the need for an updated ‘energy framework’ it is clear that there is work to be done to line up this strategy with current policies.
“Policies such as the Climate Change Levy and the proposed SAP 2016 will actually increase energy costs for households and businesses, yet the affordability of energy is a top priority according to the green paper. It will be interesting to see how the government plan to harmonise these policies.
“The paper also sets out three major challenges for energy policy that the strategy will address. Top of that list is ‘to ensure that the shift to a low-carbon economy is done in a way that minimises the cost to UK businesses, taxpayers, and consumers.
“Seems sensible, but there is no mention of the UK’s most valuable energy asset- the gas grid.
“Currently delivering gas into the homes and businesses of over 85% of the population via a first class distribution network, developed over many years, the gas grid is key to delivering a low carbon economy.
“Decarbonising the gas going into the grid, using so called green gases such as biomethane and bio-SNG in addition to hydrogen, will deliver affordable and sustainable solutions to the challenges the UK faces and we will continue to work with the government to this end, after all ‘It is the private sector that will ultimately be the driving force behind our low-carbon economy.”
This story was written by Liz Gyekye, editor of Bioenergy Insight.