Growth in Wales’s green economy cannot be left to the market – says committee report

Published 19/07/2010   |   Last Updated 14/07/2014

Growth in Wales’s green economy cannot be left to the market – says committee report

19 July 2010

Wales needs a clearer direction of travel and action plans for more effective and coordinated delivery if it is to become a leader in green technologies, according to a new report from the National Assembly.

The cross-party Enterprise and Learning Committee found that while the Welsh Government has taken steps towards ‘greening’ some industries, the green economy needs to become more central rather than marginal to Wales’s economic development.

The Government’s new commitment to energy and environment as one of its six priority sectors for future economic renewal provides a golden opportunity for realising higher ambitions in this area.

The inquiry looked at the job creation opportunities presented by the green economy in order to influence the Welsh Government’s policies in this area. The Committee concluded that sectors such as home energy efficient refurbishment, marine renewables and procurement presented significant potential, although there are clearly challenges to be overcome.

The Committee noted that although countries such as Denmark and Germany already lead the way on wind turbine technology, Wales could still make waves globally through investment in marine energy technologies - but it would require a generation of skilled employees for Wales to reap the full benefits.

“We believe there is potential for employment development in the green economy but the Welsh Government should be investing in the development of the skills base to realise that potential,” said Gareth Jones AM, Chair of the Enterprise and Learning Committee.

“The role of the Welsh Government is to help create the economic conditions that are sufficiently vibrant to generate green jobs, first by stimulating markets in the short term and secondly, by stimulating longer-term demand.

“If the Government is serious about developing Wales’s green economy, it will need to develop a more focused, interventionist and coordinated approach. My Committee believes that if the political leadership is there, significant opportunities for further development of the green economy will follow, including manufacturing jobs that service those sustainable technologies.”

The Committee makes a total of 28 recommendations for developing the green economy in Wales. They include:

- Welsh Ministers should monitor the effectiveness of all their policies, programmes and support schemes to ensure they uphold and actively promote green principles.

- Welsh Ministers should ensure that agreed targets are achieved for the percentage of electricity to be generated from marine renewables and micro-generation in order for Wales to be in the vanguard of developing sustainable markets for a green manufacturing and support services sector.

- Welsh Assembly Government should work with partners to secure funding and develop local area-based programmes across the whole of the country for refurbishing existing properties for energy-efficiency, not only for the resulting social and environmental benefits but for generating local skilled employment and supporting Welsh companies that manufacture the energy saving products.

- Welsh Ministers should set more challenging targets to drive green procurement through the public sector in Wales, including job creation targets, up-skilling the workforce, and encouragement for and engagement with Welsh businesses, especially SMEs, to provide green products and services for the public sector.

- Welsh Assembly Government should give emphasis and include measures for stimulating and supporting new Welsh businesses and spin-out companies in the green economy and should ensure that the research and development capacity in Welsh universities is commercialised by Welsh companies wherever possible.

- Welsh Assembly Government departments should work together with the Sector Skills Councils, further education institutions and commercial and social enterprises on a programme for identifying the kinds of skills that are needed in the green and the low carbon economy of the future, with a focus on local skills needs.