Sustainability and quality of life are at the heart of the PUSH vision and ensuring sustainable growth is a central theme of the Solent LEP’s growth strategy for the sub-region. Important aspects of ensuring sustainable growth are the issue of energy and the opportunity presented by the growth in the green economy.
In terms of energy, the UK imports 27% of its energy and this is set to rise to more than 50% by 2020. Within the Solent, 96% of energy comes from outside of the sub-region. This represents money flowing out of the Solent economy, households and businesses. In addition, it represents a potential energy security threat to the sub-regional economy, particularly with increased reliance on energy from unstable parts of the world. Energy efficiency or lack of, is also a factor in the competitiveness of the sub-regions businesses and the increasing rates of fuel poverty experienced by the residents of South Hampshire.
At the same time, there are potential energy opportunities for South Hampshire to exploit which could have a significant economic impact in terms of growth, jobs and energy security. Potential exists for large scale schemes such as offshore wind (Isle of Wight and Dorset) and tidal power (Solent) that utilise marine engineering skills which are a sub-regional strength, as well as smaller energy schemes on shore such as energy from waste and household / micro generation. In addition, local companies could benefit and jobs be created in improving the energy efficiency of the sub-regions commercial and residential properties, whilst also improving competiveness of businesses, benefiting household incomes and tackling fuel poverty.
The green economy also represents a source of potential sustainable growth for South Hampshire. Globally the low-carbon goods & services market is worth £3.2 trillion, employs 28 million people and is growing by 4% a year. Within the UK the environmental economy has grown consistently by 5% per year throughout the recession and this is set to rise to 6.4% in 2014. South Hampshire has particular strengths within green technologies with world class institutions, conducting ground breaking research, representing a potential source of growth. In addition, it has a skills mix which gives potential for exploitation of this sector, natural assets that place it in a good position, and some young, growing innovative companies within fields such as tidal energy, LED lighting, energy from waste, recycling, energy efficiency, ICT and construction.
- To support and promote the development of the Green Economy and in particular, new Low Carbon & Green Technology, capitalising on the world class research in the sub-region in to green technologies and turning these in to business opportunities, growth and jobs as well as supporting strong manufacturing
- To promote Resource Efficiency in homes and businesses ensuring our homes and businesses minimise waste including waste of energy, to support household disposable income and business competitiveness
- To support the generation of Secure, Renewable & Low Carbon Energy in the Solent ensuring economic benefits, energy security and decarbonisation
Achievements to Date
The former Sustainability and Community Infrastructure Panel adopted a new business plan in 2011. Since that date the following has been delivered:
- Green Infrastructure Delivery Framework to support protection and enhancement of GI in South Hampshire
- Reviewed the PUSH Sustainability Policy and incorporated in to the PUSH Spatial Strategy
- With the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, developed “Future South” partnership and initiative to support the development of the Green Economy
- Secured £3 million of Regional Growth Fund money for the £17 million Future South Green Growth Programme to support business growth and new jobs
- Established Solent Green Deal to support residents in improving energy efficiency and secured £0.5 million of DECC Pioneer Places funding and £3.4 million of DECC Communities fund to support the development of the scheme and assist residents
The Panel will take forward the following actions and projects:
- Support the continued development and implementation of the Future South Partnership and Projects
- Complete an Energy Strategy for the Solent
- Work with local authorities and businesses to commence implementation of the Energy Strategy
- Support the Implementation of the Future South Green Growth Programme and the creation of 315 new green economy jobs
- Continue to support the development of the Solent Green Deal and ECO Partnership and the projects funded by the DECC Communities Fund, including supporting supply chain development and creation of apprenticeships
- Explore other opportunities to progress energy efficiency in homes and businesses in the Solent
- In the absence of PUSH funding, seek external funding to develop a Solent Sustainable Food Strategy to increase economic and employment benefits from local food growth and processing and tackle issues of food poverty and food security
- Support the establishment of a Hampshire Community Bank to support SMEs generally and help sustainable funding of green economy and renewable energy projects
- Seek funding and partnership engagement in the development of an Environmental Technologies hub to support creation of new and growth of existing businesses and take advantage of the sub-regions research assets and capabilities