Somerset leads the way on Government agenda to create 250,000 new ‘green’ jobs
Plans announced this week by the Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne, promise to boost the country’s economy by creating 250,000 jobs in green industries, including renewable energy and nuclear power. And growth is already underway in Somerset, which is one of the UK’s leading counties for renewable and low carbon energy, and also the chosen location of Britain’s proposed first nuclear new build development.
Mr Huhne’s “green deal” was announced as part of his Liberal Democrat conference speech, in which he vowed to position Britain as having the fastest growing renewable industry in the EU.
Within the UK, Somerset is recognised as a ‘green’ pioneer, leading the way on environmental issues. It is the UK’s first Transition Local Authority, ensuring that measures to save energy and cut global warming are at the forefront of forward planning.
Somerset County Council has been proactive in the development of wind power initiatives and other renewable projects, including landmark schemes to promote the use of bioethanol. The county is home to the £2.5million Genesis Project, an innovative sustainable construction scheme and learning centre in Taunton. It also boasts a £6million Energy Skills Centre in Bridgwater, which will be the first of its kind in the UK, ensuring that energy training opportunities are created as well as jobs. All of this reinforces Somerset’s commitment to the ‘green’ sector, guaranteeing that its substantial energy and environmental industry remains one of the county’s key business sectors.
A recent survey, commissioned by Regen SW, highlighted the fact that ‘green energy’ jobs are likely to be instrumental in bringing the South West out of the current economic downturn. The survey of over 200 businesses shows that over the last two years, despite the recession, the number of people employed in the renewable energy sector grew to over 5,000 – a 78% increase. That’s certainly not something many parts of the country can lay claim to!
Low carbon fuel is another string to Somerset’s ‘green’ bow and, assuming planning permission is granted, EDF Energy’s plans to build a third-generation nuclear power station at Hinkley Point on the Somerset coast will see £10billion of investment generated between now and 2018. The development is expected to provide 20,000 jobs during the construction phase, with 5,000 people working on the site during the peak construction period and many more in the supply chain off site. In addition to the specialised nuclear industry opportunities, the project will involve a huge range of other sectors, from professional services to catering suppliers, and from construction companies to designers.
Somerset is a natural home for businesses working with low carbon and renewable energy, and there are vast opportunities for people looking to set up or relocate ‘green’ businesses within the county. It even boasts a dedicated inward investment body, Into Somerset, to ease the transition into Somerset for business owners who are looking for a dynamic business opportunity, balanced with a better quality of life.
Into Somerset Chief Executive Rupert Cox comments, “Somerset has so much to offer companies working in the green sector as we are one of the leading environmentally-aware, low carbon counties in the UK. Environmental technology is one of Somerset’s key industry sectors and companies that relocate here can take advantage of the county’s extensive business and lifestyle benefits, as well as its green credentials.”
Underlining the scope of the county’s commitment to environmental technology, Cox adds, “Sustainable construction companies, renewable energy specialists, nuclear experts, waste disposal companies, water technology firms and biomass plants are all thriving in Somerset. It is a natural home for businesses working with renewable energy and this means there is an established network of professional expertise on tap and a robust supply chain in place.”
Into Somerset promotes Somerset as ‘the place where you and your business can grow’. Every year 20,000 people, including many from London and the South East, relocate to Somerset to enjoy its countryside, coast and clean air, short commute times and excellent education and training opportunities. For more information or for advice about the opportunities available in Somerset for your business, visit www.intosomerset.co.uk.