The economy is stagnant, the eurozone is in crisis, public spending cuts have slashed regional employment levels, energy bills are soaring and deficit reduction is pushed back beyond 2014. Is there any cloud with a silver lining?
Leeds City Council chief executive Tom Riordan and Bradford City Council’s chief executive Tony Reeves certainly believe there is. The two councils are spearheading the growth agenda through the Leeds City Region (LCR) and have identified the low carbon sector as a new source of thousands of jobs in the future.
Tom Riordan argues that it is one of the few sectors with growth potential, explaining: ‘Most sectors are looking at jobless growth, with more output but not necessarily more employment. There are two exceptions; one is healthcare and the other is the low carbon industry.
The report looks at the scope for low carbon growth in the domestic, industrial, commercial and transport sectors in the LCR, estimating investment opportunities for firms in the low carbon industry of almost £4bn.
In the domestic sector, it concludes that there are £1.1bn low carbon investment opportunities, which could generate annual savings of £400m a year with payback within three years. Savings would come from reduced domestic energy consumption, biomass district heating, mini wind turbines, efficient lighting and new double glazing. These domestic measures could generate 38% of the total jobs to be created in the region through investment in low carbon industries.