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Environment Protection

Volume 461: debated on Thursday 21 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps are being taken to improve and reinforce consumer and investor confidence in new environmental technologies. (144248)

The UK has a thriving environmental sector, employing around 400,000 people, and forecast to grow from £25 billion in 2005 to £46 billion by 2015.

Supporting the development of new environmental technologies is key to the Government's aim to enhance the UK's position in worldwide environmental markets and to realise the benefits of the jobs it can create. Engaging the knowledge and experience of business to direct DTI support for new technology will help grow consumer and investor confidence in this area. Through the DTI's technology programme, the Government have ring fenced £20 million per annum between 2005 and 2008 for investment in low carbon energy technologies.

Other investments support innovative technologies that can enhance the efficiency with which materials, energy and water are utilised, and through the minimisation of waste. Examples include lean manufacturing and environmentally-friendly vehicles.

The Commission on Environmental Markets and Economic Performance was established in November last year and intends to publish its report in this parliamentary Session (before 26 July 2007). It will make recommendations for action by Government and business on how the UK can make the most of the opportunity that environmental protection can present for wealth creation and employment growth.

The Commission is jointly-chaired by the Secretaries of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Trade and Industry, and its membership is drawn from business, non-governmental organisations, academia, trade unions and public sector organisations.