UK puts clean growth at the heart of Industrial Strategy

The UK government has identified clean growth as one of the four ‘grand challenges’ with the potential to put the UK at the forefront of the industries of the future.

In the ‘Industrial Strategy – Building a Britain fit for the future’, released on November 27, 2017, the UK government recognized the move to cleaner economic growth through low carbon technologies and the efficient use of resources as one of the greatest industrial opportunities.

The white paper, produced following the green paper consultation with industry, academia and business earlier in 2017, also states the UK government will aim to maximize the advantages for its industry from the global shift to clean growth through the development, manufacture and use of low carbon technologies, systems and services that cost less than high carbon alternatives.

The UK’s clean economy could grow at four times the rate of GDP, with new industries created and existing industries transformed as the country moves towards a low carbon, more resource-efficient economy, the white paper states.

With the aim of making the UK the world’s most innovative nation by 2030, the government has committed to investing a further £725 million over the next 3 years in the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) to respond to the challenges and the opportunities faced by the UK.

Last week, the UK’s Prime Minister Theresa May announced an ambition to increase the level of investment in research and development (R&D), rising from 1.7% to 2.4% of GDP by 2027. This could mean around £80 billion of additional investment in advanced technology in the next decade, helping to transform whole sectors, create new industries, and support innovation across the country, the government said.

The white paper also confirmed the government will be pressing ahead with a series of Sector Deals, with construction, life sciences, automotive and AI the first to benefit from these new strategic and long-term partnerships with government, backed by private sector co-investment.

The UK government added the work will continue with other sectors on transformative sector deals.

Welcoming the publication of the white paper by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), RenewableUK’s Chief Executive Hugh McNeal said:

“The Government is rightly putting clean growth at the heart of our nation’s Industrial Strategy. Renewables are set to become the backbone of our modern energy system and the plummeting cost of wind power means onshore and offshore wind can help improve the competitiveness of UK industry. So it’s disappointing that the strategy doesn’t set out how we can use onshore wind, the cheapest new generation source, to power industrial growth.

“Already, we are exporting our skills and knowledge worldwide, winning multi-million-pound contracts in wind and marine energy, including innovative floating offshore wind projects. If this Industrial Strategy fully supports these world-leading sectors, it can drive growth across all parts of the UK and create tens of thousands of high-value jobs.”

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