UK government pledges cash to boost low-carbon industries

The British government has pledged hundreds of millions of pounds to support low-carbon industry, including wave and tidal power, offshore wind, nuclear energy and environmentally friendly cars.

Ministers said a number of sectors had the potential to provide new jobs and savings for businesses as they unveiled plans to shift the UK to a low carbon economy.

Almost 900,000 people are employed in low carbon and environmental goods and services and supply chains in the UK, and it is hoped up to 400,000 new jobs could be created in the area.

The Low Carbon Industrial Strategy, published ahead of a White Paper laying out the "route map" to slashing Britain's emissions in the next decade, sets out where some of £405 million earmarked in the Budget for green industry will go.

The strategy includes up to £120 million available to support the development of a British-based offshore wind industry, as part of efforts to install 3,000 wind turbines off the UK's shores by 2020.

Some £60 million will be used to develop the UK's wave and tidal power technology, including investment in the Wave Hub testing facility off the Cornish coast.

There will be up to £15 million capital investment to establish a Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and a £4 million expansion of the Manufacturing Advisory Service to provide specialist advice to industry on low carbon opportunities.

And £10 million will go to speeding up deployment of the infrastructure for charging electric vehicles.

The Government also said it was setting up a new forum, with representatives from trade unions, business organisations and national, regional and local bodies, to address the "challenges for the workforce" - particularly in carbon intensive industries - posed by shifting to a low-carbon economy.

Business secretary Lord Mandelson said: "There is no high carbon future. But if the transition to low carbon is inevitable, what is not inevitable is that we use the transition as a chance to develop new jobs, new industries here in Britain."

He said that globally, environmental goods and services were already worth £3 trillion.

"With the sector set to grow by over 4 per cent per annum over the next six years we must do all we can to support British businesses and workers in benefiting.

"We must ensure that we equip businesses and the workforce with the capabilities and skills to take advantage of the potential benefits as the world moves towards a low carbon future."

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