Business secretary Vince Cable has announced £3 million pounds worth of Regional Growth Funding for the “Future Solent Green Growth Programme” while visiting their inaugural conference at the Ageas Bowl on Friday.
Future Solent is a partnership of local business leaders, politicians and green tech experts who are trying to stimulate sustainable economic growth while reducing the area’s carbon footprint. The aim is to create least 315 new jobs in the Solent area over the next three years by supporting green business growth in a low carbon economy.
Around 100 delegates listened to a number of speakers from businesses involved in the developing green economy including Alex Parmley who as Eastleigh Borough Council Corporate Director is heading up the Solent Green Deal initiative to retrofit local homes with the latest energy saving kit and Professor Richard Werner who is seeking to establish a Hampshire Community Investment Bank which will invest savers money in green tech schemes.
A number of projects were discussed including the proposed Navitus Bay offshore wind farm where it is predicted that 67 square miles of wind turbines off the Isle of Wight will provide enough power for 790,000 homes and create 2,000 jobs.
Jimmy Chestnutt, the Chair of Future Solent and Chief Executive of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce told reporters from Eastleigh News and Winchester Online.
“We are looking at reducing the carbon footprint of the Solent area. We aim to create jobs wealth and new businesses .We aim to train existing business how to save money, cut energy costs and cut their carbon footprints.”
A number of delegates claimed that many people were in denial about climate change. Jimmy Chesnutt agreed and said he thought they were burying their heads in the sand, hoping that “everything would be alright.”
“But the reality is we won’t be alright. There are real problems of carbon generation which are effecting the way this planet behaves but at the bottom end of the scale this is very much about creating jobs. This is a business led opportunity, we want to save the planet but we are also in the business of growing the local economy.”
Vince Cable, who was greeted on his arrival by EBC leader Keith House and MP Mike Thornton told the conference:
“The consensus is that man made global warming is becoming more serious. It can be measured, it has happened. Sea level change rises are measurable and the process is accelerating.
“There is no way that the British can just duck out of this. We may be only 2% of the world economy but we got there before everybody else. A high percentage of the greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere was produced here so we have a responsibility.”
In a statement Keith House said:
“Eastleigh Borough Council is a leading council nationally on the climate change and low carbon agenda and that includes supporting the development of the green economy. We are delighted with the award of funding and pleased to take a leading role, working with the Chamber of Commerce, Universities and Local First to deliver this innovative programme which will boost businesses and jobs.”
All photos ©Eastleigh News 2013