Byline: Karen Dent
REEN technology has the potential to create thousands of jobs and turn Britain into a world leader in this sector, according to Chancellor Alistair Darling.
He used last week's Budget to commit the UK to a 34% reduction in gases by 2020 and to plough money into carbon industries.
At the forefront was a commitment provide pounds 525m for offshore wind in the next two years, as well pounds 405m to help low-carbon manufacturing.
Many of the green ideas contained the Budget had already been suggested by the CBI, which has put roadmaps of what policies to be in place to give businesses the incentive to commit themselves to this new low-carbon economy in the run up to 2020.
Emma Wild, the CBI's principal policy adviser on climate change, has been in Newcastle to talk about the proposals - called Going the Distance - and discuss how businesses can deliver on green commitments, while winning new markets.
"We put together the ideas on what needs to happen in terms of Government decisions and new policies with our members, to understand what would drive them to act on climate change," she said.
"The overall theme is that we need much more certainty in the regulatory environment, we need Government to make decisions, we need really swift implementation of existing policies. We need national policy statements on things like renewable energy and the nuclear power that will allow the industry to then invest in these sectors for the future." The document looks at what levels of additional business can be expected if certain policies are introduced.
Ms Wild said: "For example, on lowcarbon vehicles, the Government announced their package and we want them to work with industry on using the pounds 250m very wisely.
"Then we say over the next period, you will see increased demand for fuel-efficient cars featuring certain technologies. So it is matching up the policies with what you can expect from the market.
"There's still a lot more that Government can to do that isn't about spending but is about providing businesses with certainty.
"Making decisions on regulation which is going to happen over the next five to 10 years, that is going to give businesses the certainty that they need to invest in low-carbon opportunities." The North East already has a bedrock of the industries needed to become a key player in this brave new world. …