Government ‘must back sustainability in UK industry’

Chi Onwurah, Newcastle Central MP
Chi Onwurah, Newcastle Central MP
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The Government should drive energy efficiency in Britain’s manufacturing industry through tax credits, investment and support for innovation, a Parliamentary research group has said.

The Manufacturing Commission said more should be done to put the sector at the forefront of energy and resource efficiency innovation.

(Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire)

(Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire)

Its latest report warns there are risks in not taking advantage of the economic opportunities around sustainability and of not driving evolution in the nationally-important engineering and manufacturing sectors.

It called for more collaboration across departments, including the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), to push forward action on sustainability in order to make UK manufacturers more competitive internationally.

The report, Industrial Evolution: Making British Manufacturing Sustainable, has been released ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, Paris COP21, which is set to take place at the end of November.

Chi Onwurah MP, who co-chaired the inquiry with Institute for Manufacturing’s Professor Steve Evans, said: “This report sets out how we can start redesigning our industrial system to make it more sustainable, improve our national security, and ultimately enhance our quality of life.

“We believe that we must take advantage of this leadership moment to make the UK more productive, efficient and resilient, and be a provider of solutions to the rest of the world.”

The commission launched the inquiry to address a lack of research into the major vulnerabilities in UK manufacturing around energy, resources and sustainability.

Other proposals from the report include a call for the formation of a new ‘challenge-focused’ catapult to examine and build understanding of cross-sectoral areas of concern.

The commission also called on the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to develop a system to track resource flows.

BIS should establish an Office for Resource Management to advise and coordinate policy-makers on the challenges and opportunities around resource security, it added.