A multi-million pound business
opportunity could be grasped by Peterborough if it establishes an
international reputation as a centre for world-leading environmental
Jonathan Selwyn, executive
director of the UK Centre for Economic and Environmental Development, urged business leaders, government departments
and environmental protection organisations to co-operate in creating a
'cluster' of expertise to spearhead the growth of the environmental
"Peterborough already has
an excellent range of environment organisations, which is one reason why
UK CEED moved here from Cambridge in January," he told 60 delegates
attending a high-level half-day seminar. "We have the potential to
develop a world-leading 'green' business sector and local organisations
are enthusiastic about pursuing that objective."
The seminar - entitled
Positioning Peterborough's environmental sector at the heart of the
regional and national economy - was given an insight into the financial
rewards available by Professor Peter James, Professor at Bradford
University and an associate of UK CEED.
He said environmental
technology represented a multi-million pound international industry
because it had an impact on almost every aspect of modern life, from the
development of new kinds of insecticides and more efficient manufacturing
methods through to increased use of electronic commerce and
Even the existence of
regulatory authorities generated business activity, said Professor James.
He added: "The environment is so important that some experts predict
that in 30 or 40 years the whole taxation system will be based on
environmental damage rather than income and that the climate change levy
is only the first stage in this development.
"We need to peer into the
future and develop a broad-based perspective of what is possible to create
strategies which are equally successful for business and the
environment," he said.
The challenges to the creation
of an environmental business cluster were discussed by Professor Richard
Stevens, director of business competitiveness with the Government Office
for the East of England.
He said that, while any
government funding would be channelled through the East of England
Development Agency, the initiative needed a 'business champion' who could
provide enthusiastic leadership.
"The creation of wealth
from an environmental cluster is the role of industry and business and it
needs a facilitator with impact and drive rather than being administered
by government departments," he said.
Other speakers at the seminar
included Peterborough MP Helen Brinton, Matthew Rayment, head of the
economic section at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Andy
Brown, strategic biodiversity manager at Anglian Water and Richard Donoyou,
director of Peterborough Environment City Trust.