EEF offers a “better way” to economic growth with environmental credentials

Posted on 14 Dec 2011 by The Manufacturer

At a ceremony in Westminster last night, trade body EEF officially launched its latest report, ‘Green and Growth: Solutions for growing a green economy’ which calls for a review of the Government’s approach to carbon and energy regulation.

EEF CEO, Terry Scuoler launched the report. He spoke of it as part of a campaign “with the major objective to put [environmental] policy back on track.”

Mr Scuoler told attendees that the primary outcome of the report was to affirm the UK manufacturing sector “is an ally of the green economy”. He spoke of the significant strides industry has made, both independently and in hand with government, to develop the supporting technologies and strategies for green growth.

However, Mr Scuoler was scathing of the current direction of government environmental policy which he found “undermined” these efforts. He commented on his shock at finding just 12% of those surveyed during the report’s research considered the UK an attractive environment in which to invest in and develop low carbon capabilities.

The EEF report recommends a variety of ways in which to consolidate current regulation. Mr Scuoler said this now represented: “A raft of relentless costs.” There is a “better way” he claimed.

Among consolidation recommendations from EEF are the creation of a single Carbon Reduction Commitment and the abolition of the Carbon Floor Price.

The report also recommends a new clarity of focus in national environmental strategy based on a single 2030 decarbonisation target. The expected contributions of various sectors toward this might vary.

EEF’s Suzanne Baker, climate and environment policy advisor, shared the organisations frustration with the difficulty of achieving policy consolidation saying that the governments self-acclaimed Red Tape Challenge had barred comment on the Carbon Reduction Commitment since it is now considered a tax – not a regulation.

EEF is hopeful of the report’s recommendation being received with some seriousness in government however. The organisation is currently riding off a high after having many of its proposals for R&D tax reform, devised in partnership with automotive trade body, SMMT, put into practice in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.

Chris White MP, representative for Warwick and Leamington and a co-chair of the All Party Manufacturing Group responsible for the Made By Britain Campaign, welcomed attendees to the report launch.

Mr White said the report would act as further guidance to a government “beginning to understand the importance of manufacturing”. Mr White revealed that there are discussions in government over the creation of a Minister for Manufacturing to develop this understanding further, but acknowledged that the move would likely be received with cynicism in industry circles.