LEP to launch clean growth strategy at Hertfordshire’s sustainability conference

Hertfordshire’s first clean growth strategy will be launched by Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) at the pivotal sustainability conference taking place at Rothamsted Research Institute on Thursday 3 March, 2022. 

Sponsored by Herts IQ and Hertfordshire LEP, the biz4Biz Annual Conference titled, ‘Sustainability: The Path To Net Zero: Your Transformation to Sustainable Advantage in Business and Society’, will bring businesses and place leaders together to share best sustainable practices.

A limited number of free tickets are available for the conference, click here.

Richard Whitehead, Hertfordshire LEP Board Member and Chair, Herts IQ, will speak about growing Hertfordshire’s green economy and launch ‘Towards Net Zero A Strategy for Clean Growth in Hertfordshire.’ The LEP’s strategy’s overarching goal is to enable clean growth and achieve a greener, more sustainable, economy across the county.

Richard said: “Here in Hertfordshire, like the rest of the UK, we are reshaping our economy following the impact of the pandemic. While this brings new challenges, it also brings possibility and prosperity if we can unlock the opportunities of this new, greener commercial landscape.

“This document will guide us through the next decade where technological change will continue apace but environmental considerations and opportunities will be prominent as will commitments to inclusivity.

“For us, this means closer working relationships with partners to take forward this exciting era of clean, inclusive, business-led growth.”

The strategy will build on existing national and regional policy including the Government’s legislation for net zero carbon emissions by 2050. It has two pillars.

Clean growth pillar one

The first is LEP-led and supported by key partners including Hertfordshire Growth Board and the Hertfordshire Climate Change and Sustainability Partnership.

This pillar is concerned with with accelerating the growth of the green economy, or Low Carbon Environmental Goods and Services (LCEGS)  sector. Treated as a priority sector, the LEP will use its full range of levers to stimulate and support enterprise, innovation and the skills development required for the sector’s growth.

The ‘business’ of this LCEGS sector is to either to reduce/mitigate environmental impacts (e.g. dealing with pollution or waste minimization), or to provide radically lower carbon solutions (a range of activities from  renewable energy activities through to building technologies).  In 2019, there were over 15,000 LCEGS employee jobs in Hertfordshire reflecting a relative UK specialization and strength of the sector to build on. Welwyn Hatfield had the highest concentration.

Over the next decade, the LEP intends to analyse the scale of the sector, attract inward investment, build networks and supply chains within it to increase the number of businesses and jobs while enhancing the skillsets of local people to take up these opportunities. 

Hertfordshire Opportunities Portal will play a key role in supporting young people into the emerging sector.

The Herts IQ Network will be a focal point for the sector’s growth thanks to its established smart construction, agri tech and envirotech cluster.  Its like-minded businesses community will stimulate future collaboration and innovation opportunities with its members.

Clean growth pillar two

Pillar Two of the strategy focuses on the transition to clean growth by improving the environmental performance of businesses, communities and places across Hertfordshire.

The LEP will support green transitions for businesses through practical measures such as a ‘Net Zero Low Cost’ campaign via the Growth Hub and a best practice net zero check list, and by offering solutions for green financing.  Sustainable transport solutions such as Electric Vehicle infrastructure will be rolled out and access for residents to skills training will be provided.  Existing and new enterprise and innovation spaces will be encouraged to promote and support clean growth enterprises.

However, a truly collaborative, partnership is critical to this pillar’s success and will involve new partnership working as well as building on existing successes.

This includes:

  • West Herts College’s ‘Hertfordshire Green Skills Strategy’ which outlines the economic profile, educational provision and green skills context within Hertfordshire. The LEP has heavily invested in higher and further education colleges to create outstanding facilities and links between employers and educators, to empower the next generation and meet future skills needs of local businesses.
  • University of Hertfordshire’s Centre for Climate Change Research brings together over 50 multi-disciplined academics while its Zero Carbon Lab is a unique research group leading collaboration with industry and academia on zero carbon design.
  • With the Building Research Establishment, Construction Innovation Hub, the soon-to-be-developed Open Innovation Hub, and the home of several leading construction companies all in county, Hertfordshire is leading the way in the transition to sustainable construction and green buildings. With 100,000 new homes planned by 2031, Hertfordshire can be at the forefront of producing sustainable built environments.
  • A cluster around Rothamsted Research’s international leadership in crop science and its focus on climate projects is attracting inward investment and businesses connected with agri-tech/science, creating green economy growth and high-skilled local jobs.
  • Hertfordshire LEP has strong and positive relationships with many influential business-facing organisations including Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, Hemel Hempstead Business Ambassadors, CITB and Greater South East Net Zero Hub.

The clean growth document is one in a suite of strategic statements that will guide Hertfordshire’s growth through to the 2030s.

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