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08:39 on Wednesday
7 March 2001

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Positively Peterborough

Multi-Million Pound Environment Business in City's Sights


A multi-million pound business opportunity could be grasped by Peterborough if it establishes an international reputation as a centre for world-leading environmental technologies.

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 industry.

"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 video-conferencing.

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.

May 2000

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