CSR: Low Carbon manufacturing boosted with Green Bank

The £1bn capital funding pledged through the Green Investment Bank will benefit firms in the West Midlands working in the sustainable energy and low carbon sectors.

Mr Osborne announced that the annual budget for the Department of Energy and Climate Change would be £3.1bn. This represents a 5% annual budget cut but £200m is pledged for wind power development.

Funding is being set aside for infrastructure development to meet the needs of offshore wind turbine manufacturers looking to locate new facilities in the UK.

In the West Midlands this could provide a major boost to an industry that employs 8,400 people.

The Green Investment Bank is also likely to boost investment in major low carbon infrastructure products, such as low emission and electric vehicles and renewable energy.

Earlier this year, then Business Secretary Lord Mandelson announced the Midlands was being designated a new Low Carbon Economic Area (LCEA) and awarded it £19m of government funding for research into and development of low carbon vehicles.

He said he wanted to see the Midlands lead the global automotive industry in the transition from conventional to low carbon vehicle technologies. The LCEA is designed to send a clear signal to the global market about the Midlands’ strengths in advanced automotive engineering.

The move towards a low carbon economy presents huge opportunities for the region. It is likely the funding will help secure thousands of jobs, many of them in important areas such as the automotive industry and help to strengthen the low carbon economy.

Partners in the Low Carbon Vehicles Technology (LCVTP) programme already include Jaguar Land Rover, Tata Motors, Zytek, Ricardo, MIRA, WMG at the University of Warwick and Coventry University. The project also involves hundreds of other firms in the automotive supply chain.

Many of these businesses will also welcome the freeze on the science budget. Research and Development forms a crucial part of the delivery of the low carbon agenda and the Government’s recognition that it will drive forward growth is one many organisations had been pressing for.

The commitment to create thousands of more apprentice places is also significant because it will ensure a sustainable supply of skilled labour to these rapidly evolving industries.

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