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Holyrood magazine

Environmental and Clean Technologies

Start Date:26 Oct 10 

It is not too radical a proposition to say that Scotland is on the brink of a Green Revolution. Over the next five years tens of thousands of new jobs are expected to be created under an exciting new strategy to invest in green technology. The forward thinking vision from the Scottish Government and their partners is of a huge expansion in businesses developing state-of-the-art technologies to tackle such things as pollution, manage waste and reduce carbon.

ECT is broadly any technology that is less environmentally harmful than the alternatives. This can include solutions for air, noise and marine pollution, land contamination, waste management and recycling, water-treatment, clean transport making use of fuel cells, hybrid engines or biofuels, sustainable construction from buildings to environmentally-friendly materials and ICT to improve energy use or reduce pollution from manufacturing.

Scotland is already leading the way on renewable energy but our world leading carbon reduction targets will not be met by these innovations alone. More and more businesses are realising that environmental responsibilities can also mean big economic growth but require a shift in mindset as well as structures supported by attractive investment possibilities and political will.

In September 2009 the Scottish Government launched the new Environmental and Clean Technologies (ECT) Action Plan, which lit the blue touch paper on making the ECT vision a practical reality across Scotland by examining the huge economic and environmental benefits of the green economy.

In fact ECT technologies have a bigger economic potential than renewables. UK research states that Scotland's share in the sector employs 73,000 workers, involving 4,000 businesses. It is estimated that support from public sector partners could increase the number of jobs by 32,000 to 105,000 by 2015. The plan excludes specific activities to reduce carbon emissions and renewable energy technologies as these are covered elsewhere.

Building on the solid foundation of the ECT Action Plan, a strategy for action is currently being finalized by The Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, SEPA, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the Scottish Funding Council. They have worked in close partnership to develop a three-year ECT Strategy and to ensure that public sector investment for those wanting to develop green technologies is co-ordinated. The strategy is basically about preparing Scotland to take advantage of the Green Revolution and will be launched next month with a further roll out of more detailed plans for each of the five sub sectors; water and waste water treatment; recovery and recycling; environmental monitoring and innovation; building technologies and sustainable transport being published later.

This conference will offer an outline of what ECT is and how it has a financial and legal imperative which no business can ignore. It will establish how we can make people carbon literate, what opportunities will be available to capitalise on, what funding could be available and how to access it, getting the right information from the right source, the requirement for research and development and ensuring that we have the skills for the future. Importantly it will emphasise the need for a joined up approach and a requirement to think in terms of whole system changes rather than tinkering at the edges and will also question where all of this fits within the Government’s sustainable economic agenda and the Scotland Performs league tables. The audience will have a significant opportunity at the event to help shape the future development of the sector.

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