UK Government backs clean growth in new Industrial Strategy plans

Reuters

Reuters

As well as outlining the benefits for the economy, Clark set out Strategy's long-term vision, focussing on the improvements for productivity and United Kingdom earning power by embracing technological change.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said: "The way we earn and live our lives as workers, citizens and consumers is being transformed by new technologies".

"The white paper follows extensive engagement by government with industry, academia and business bodies who submitted nearly 2,000 responses to the green paper consultation earlier in 2017".

£162 million will be invested in innovation for low-carbon industries and in developing a new strategy for the bio-economy with the ultimate goal of making the UK's energy intensive industries competitive in the clean economy.

The separate Clean Growth Strategy, published in October, set a number of targets regarding waste to landfill, and the new white paper notes that October's plan "sits at the heart" of Industrial Strategy.

Theresa May said the blueprint would help to shape a stronger and fairer economy for decades. "With the Budget last week, and our Industrial Strategy in the years ahead, we will build a Britain fit for the future".

United Kingdom business secretary Greg Clark said other investments will follow in the £64bn life-sciences industry, one of four to strike a "sector deal" between different industries and ministers as part of the new strategy. "We have a thriving research and science base and are home to a wide range of innovative sectors, from advanced manufacturing and life sciences, to fintech and creative industries", he said.

He said: "Renewables are set to become the backbone of our modern energy system and the plummeting cost of wind power means onshore and offshore wind can help improve the competitiveness of United Kingdom industry".

Now, the strategy includes not only a commitment to move towards a circular strategy but also the pledge to raise "the resource productivity of businesses, including through the promotion of recycling and strong secondary materials markets where products are designed with efficiency and recyclability in mind".

"The strategy unveiled today reflects this engagement, with a new and unique partnership between government, academia and industry, supported by policies that are committed to making the United Kingdom economy more productive and giving it a competitive edge in the future and overseas". Better planning for waste and waste-derived resources around the country, especially to provide sufficient capacity of the right kind in the right place to support local economic development, is a key ask.

Among its other promises today within the Industrial Strategy, the govenrment said that it would be "working in partnership with food businesses "from farm to fork", through the Courtauld Commitment to deliver a 20 per cent per capita reduction in food waste by 2025".

This work is to build on the foundations "set out in our 25 Year Environment Plan", says the government - although the plan itself has been delayed and is not expected until the New Year. One of the strategy's "Grand Challenges" surrounds the use and harnessing of artificial intelligence (AI), and the paper notes that one application of AI could be to enable more efficient use of resources: 'For example, intelligent algorithms applied to data on atmospheric conditions and soil moisture could dramatically reduce the amount of water needed for agriculture'.

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