David Ralph, Chief Executive, D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership
This week, D2N2 launched its low-carbon action plan for consultation. Sustainability is central to the LEP vision. Economic growth is not an end in itself but enables individuals to access the opportunities to lead productive and rewarding lives, our society and culture to flourish and to protect and enhance our environment, creating a sustainable, low-carbon future for the D2N2 area.
There are three principle drivers for our low-carbon action plan:
ACTION – how do we ensure that the 55,000 extra jobs created in the next ten years in the D2N2 area are the right sort of jobs – higher-skilled, sustainable, providing a living wage and are accessed by local people in local companies?
OPPORTUNITY– how do we exploit the huge investment in the low-carbon sector to provide a competitive advantage to our local firms whether they are big or small?
SUSTAINABILITY – how does D2N2’s Growth Plan ensure that economic growth is achieved in the most sustainable way so that we are not undermining the resources of the future for the sole benefit of today?
In 1768, some 250 years ago, Richard Arkwright relocated his textile centre from the Lace Market in Nottingham to Cromford Mills to take advantage of a low-carbon energy source – water – to power his new cotton mills. At it height, these factories employed some 30,000 people.
At D2N2, innovation is in our DNA. This strong industrial heritage provides a underlying confidence that the East Midlands will undoubtedly be at the forefront of delivering advanced low-carbon manufacturing solutions through innovation. This therefore should be the underpinning rationale to our economic growth objectives.
The launch for consultation of the D2N2 Low Carbon Plan reflects a commitment that Sustainability is central to the LEP vision with the Strategy for Growth stating that ‘economic growth is not an end in itself.
Economic growth enables individuals to access the opportunities to lead productive and rewarding lives, our society and culture to flourish and to protect and enhance our environment, creating a sustainable, low-carbon future for the D2N2 area.
This plan is specifically for consultation and we want to hear particularly whether our priorities are right and specifically whether we have captured the competitive advantage of the D2N2 low carbon economy.
An action plan cannot be all things to all people and therefore we will have to prioritise. Some other plans have tried to address all the issues of low carbon – specifically this plan should be considered primarily in the context of economic growth and opportunity to deliver low-carbon goods and services, not in the context of reducing the local carbon footprint.
It seeks to prioritise the specific activities and opportunities to support investment and business growth and focuses on:
- Energy including district heating systems and retrofitting
- Low carbon vehicles
- Supporting SMEs, focusing on innovation
To support the development of the low-carbon economy, D2N2 has already established a £100m Low Carbon and Innovation programme.
In this regard, we feel that in terms of common endeavour, prioritising and action, D2N2 is leading the way in exploiting the opportunities from the low-carbon economy and therefore I commend the plan and its comments and would be happy to hear your views.
Please download the plan at www.d2n2lep.org/lowcarbon and provide feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org