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20:50 on Monday
30 December 2002

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Minister backs Environment Cluster initiative

Lord Sainsbury, Science and Innovation Minister, pledged the government's support for a new initiative which could make Peterborough a world-wide centre of expertise in environmental technology, at the launch of the Peterborough Environment Cluster initiative, on 27 February 2002.

The conference was organised by the UK Centre for Economic and Environmental Development (UK CEED) to promote the growth of a cluster of environment-related businesses in and around Peterborough.

The audience at the launch was welcomed by John Cox, Chairman of UK CEED. Helen Clark spoke on the government's strategy for business clusters and sustainable development before introducing Lord Sainsbury. The Minister's speech promised government backing for the initiative which aims to generate more environment-related jobs and investment in Peterborough.

He told business and civic leaders at the conference: "Clusters are extremely important for the UK's economic development. Research has shown that these concentrations of companies and institutions operating in a particular field aid the growth of the organisations which are within them. They also boost the economies of which they are part. They provide a crucial vehicle for business people and the academic community to work together.

"The cluster of environment-related businesses and public agencies in Peterborough has the potential to create sustainable economic growth for the city which will benefit the whole of the UK. Technologies and techniques developed here could be applied across the world in the rapidly growing market for environmentally beneficial goods and services.

"Peterborough - and the UK - has the potential to become a world leader in this market. The government is committed to support these ambitions."

Also among the panel of speakers at the launch of the environment cluster initiative, were Jonathan Selwyn, Executive Director of UK CEED, Paul Martin, Chied Executive of Peterborough City Council and Bill Samuel, Chief Executive of the East of England Development Agency (EEDA).

Jonathan Selwyn, said: "The Peterborough Environment Cluster is an integral part of the Greater Peterborough Partnership's strategy for the city. It will attract new environmental firms to the area and encourage the expansion of the ones already here to deliver real economic growth. It will build on the city's existing strengths to create new jobs and wealth."

A study by UK CEED has shown that there are already more than 250 environment sector organisations in the Peterborough area. They employ a total of more than 4,500 people and account for over five per cent of the area's economic activity.

There is a rising demand for environmental technologies, goods and services at both national and international level. The UK market for environment services is expected to almost double to 16 billion by 2010.

EEDA has recognised the environment cluster in Peterborough as a major potential area of economic growth.

There were also discussion groups, subject and hosted as follows:

Developing Sustainable Products & Processes

Professor Peter Guthrie
Chair of Engineering for Sustainable Development, University of Cambridge

Business Opportunities in Natural Environment & Biodiversity Management

Shaun Thomas
General Manager, English Nature

Financing & Supporting Innovation in Emerging Cluster

Matthew Bullock
Group Chief Executive, Norwich and Peterborough Building Society

Managing the Innovation Process

David Gill
Head of Innovation and Technology HSBC Bank plc

February 2002




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