London to become Europe’s ‘Silicon Valley’ for clean tech

Author:
Clare Saxon Ghauri
Reading time: 4 minutes
28 May 2015

LONDON: The UK's capital is set to become Europe’s biggest clean tech hub according to plans from the London City Mayor’s sustainability advisory commission, which is chaired by The Climate Group trustee Rt Hon Greg Barker.

Plans are currently being drawn up by the London Sustainable Development Commission (LSDC) to create a world-leading clean tech hub in a currently underutilized region of west London.

LSDC, which advises the London Mayor on the city’s low carbon economy, hopes the hub will attract forward-thinking start-ups and large green companies from across Europe, especially once major planned train lines to the area open.

Chair of the LSDC, Right Honourable Gregory BarkerMinister of State for Energy and Climate Change for the last Conservative government who also joined the Board of Trustees at The Climate Group this month, said the report the LSDC is developing recommends the “creation of the largest cluster of clean tech businesses outside California”, to ensure “London will be the obvious choice for green European entrepreneurs”.

He said: “Over the past five years, there has been a massive proliferation of new tech business start-ups expanding in East London to create ‘tech city’, the largest concentration of tech businesses outside Silicon Valley. We want to create a similar opportunity for clean tech in the west of the London.

“However, this opportunity goes beyond the UK. We think we will create an exciting environment to grow entrepreneurial green businesses from across the EU and beyond, bringing together bright minds, innovators and competitive finance, all in one location. It’s still very early days for this project but there can be no doubting the ambition to create something of worldwide importance.”

The UK’s green tech sector is already growing faster than many other sectors, and a London clean tech hub would help the country claim an even greater slice of the global low carbon economy, which is today worth around US$5 trillion. But for a world-class hub to bloom in the UK, clear supportive policy must be in place.

According to Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group, negotiators reaching a robust global deal at the COP21 climate talks in Paris this December will boost national green growth, which he says "has been one of the undeniable success stories of the British economy in recent years".

UK support for a global climate deal was put in the spotlight this week as HM Queen Elizabeth delivered the official ‘Speech of the Throne’ to mark the start of the UK's new Parliament, in which she reaffirmed its commitment to forging agreement at COP21.

Following the Queen’s Speech, UK Secretary of State Amber Rudd published a blog about the Department of Energy and Climate Change's energy priorities as well as how agreeing a global climate deal at COP21 is in the “UK’s interest” because it will “further drive down the costs of climate action” and “open up new opportunities for our low carbon industries”.

Stating that the UK's emissions are down 30% on 1990 levels, the Secretary of State writes: “We are leading the way in clean technology and innovation, creating new jobs and helping to power our economic recovery.”

If the new government maintains the UK's climate leadership, the environment will be ripe for attracting exciting low carbon start-ups and big businesses to London.

Led by James Cameron, former chairman of Climate Change Capital and LSDC commissioner, the final clean tech hub plans will be ready later in the year.

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By Clare Saxon Ghauri

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