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Environmental Protection: Industry

Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 27th June 2012.

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Photo of Zac Goldsmith Zac Goldsmith Conservative, Richmond Park

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent steps his Department has taken to stimulate growth in the low carbon and environmental goods manufacturing and support sectors and their supply chains.

Photo of Mark Prisk Mark Prisk The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

Recent steps taken by the Department to stimulate growth in low carbon sectors include encouraging businesses in those sectors to apply for grants and/or loans from the £125 million Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI) and £1 billion Regional Growth Fund (RGF) round three. Applications have been received from businesses in low carbon sectors for both of those funds and they will be assessed against the criteria that applies to each fund. There is now an additional opportunity to apply for funding from AMSCI with bids being invited until 12 September.

The Department is also supporting a number of ongoing initiatives to stimulate capacity building and improvement in business competitiveness, such as through the Advanced Manufacturing Research and Offshore Renewable Energy Catapults, funded by the Technology Strategy Board, and the National Renewable Energy Centre, which is developing facilities to demonstrate offshore wind technologies. In addition, skills funds are available to help businesses develop the knowledge and capability of workers, including the £250 million Employer Ownership Pilot and the Growth and Innovation Fund. Working with UK Trade and Investment, we are seeking to attract inward investors in low carbon sectors, such as offshore wind, as well as promote export opportunities.

On financing, the Government are making rapid progress towards establishment of the UK Green Investment Bank, which will be a key component of the transition to a green economy. UK Green Investment Bank plc has now been formed with funding of £3 billion. It will complement other green policies to help accelerate additional capital in green infrastructure. It is expected to be fully operational in the autumn, following state aid approval. In the interim, the Government's UK Green Investments team (UKGI) has begun making Government investments in green infrastructure.

Following an open competition, UKGI has committed £80 million to two fund mangers to co invest equity into smaller waste infrastructure projects (project size generally below £30 million). A similar competition for fund managers to invest £100 million in smaller non domestic energy efficiency projects is at the due diligence stage. A pipeline of further projects is under development. All these investments will be made on market terms or meet the requirements for existing state aid exemptions or approvals.

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