Green and clean growth drive government technology policy

The government has gone ahead with its policy of encouraging environment-friendly technology

In the current times of high levels of industrialization, everyone wants to go ‘green’ as it will hopefully save the environment – the most precious natural asset we have. Now the focus is on low-carbon emission technologies and infrastructure that are environment-friendly, which will ultimately mean investment in the energy of the future – something no one can afford to ignore.

The latest example is the Swansea lagoon where there were increasing demands, bordering rhetoric, to pursue green growth or clean growth at the heart of industrialisation. However, there was alarm last week when the issue did not figure in the Budget despite a recommendation by an independent review in January for the UK Government to give the renewable energy project the go-ahead. But, now the government has given its nod to the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project. The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Greg Clark will now identify clean growth as an area where the UK has a chance to lead the global technological revolution.

Swansea East Labour MP, Carolyn Harris called for the Government to stop “stalling” on the energy project and said that investors are nervous and investor participation in the project is must. Swansea West Labour MP, Geraint Davies also argued the commitment to “green growth” should spur the UK Government to give the thumbs-up to the lagoon and back proposals for the Swansea Metro system. He said that if the green growth plan is really going to speed green growth then clearly it should include the lagoon and the electrified Swansea Metro.

He added that fracking and oil production will have to be cut to save the planet, which will up the price of energy and it is important to invest now in the energy of the future. He further said that the plan to have trains on the Great Western line switch from electric power to diesel for the Cardiff to Swansea leg of the journey was “crazy at a time when the Germans are investing in hydrogen-driven trains”. Newport West Labour MP Paul Flynn urged the UK Government to support tidal and hydro power in Wales as opposed to projects like the £18bn Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. Flynn said that things that can be relied upon in Wales are the tides and the rain but people are hesitating on it. Minds seem to be closed to the obvious, enormous advantages in every way of tidal power that’s gone to waste, he added.

Wales Office minister Lord Bourne will visit the Centre for Alternative Technology in Machynlleth. He said that the move to cleaner economic growth through low carbon technologies and the efficient use of resources is one of the greatest industrial opportunities of our time.

Meanwhile, clean growth forms one of the four areas which the UK government has identified along with Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, the future of mobility and meeting the needs of an ageing society where the UK can be a leader.

Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns will launch the Industrial Strategy White Paper in Wales at Airbus’ Newport base. He said that the Industrial Strategy sets out a compelling vision for the future of the UK economy and a new approach to preparing for the opportunities and challenges of the coming decades.

Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP Jonathan Edwards wants the Assembly to be given responsibility for VAT and corporation tax so that it can take steps to improve the economy. He said that he major thing the British Government should be emphasising is geographical wealth inequality within the British state. An industrial strategy is a way of addressing that. If the strategy does not actually set a clear road map for how they are going to deal with that then this will be another missed opportunity and another example of Westminster governments neglecting areas outside the southeast of England, he added.

Adam Price, who represents the seat for Plaid in the Assembly said that it is undeniable that Wales is among those parts of the UK that suffers from this neglect. He people have gone backwards on rail electrification, had no support for the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, and are denied the kind of economy boosting powers available to Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Brecon and Radnorshire Conservative MP Chris Davies looked forward to movement on a growth deal for Mid Wales. He said that he hopes finally Mid Wales will be recognised. He said that according to the Budget, there is going to be a Mid Wales growth zone. When asked if he was hopeful the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon would become reality, he said that he is not still 100% convinced on that but would like to see it happen.

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