Agenda item - EVIDENCE FROM WITNESSES
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EVIDENCE FROM WITNESSES
- Meeting of Culture, Tourism & Enterprise Overview & Scrutiny Committee Ad Hoc Panel - Environmental Industries - Completed, Wednesday, 10th June, 2009 10.00am (Item 19.)
The panel will hear from:
Graham Tubb, Head of Energy Policy, SEEDA
Christine D’Cruz, Director of Business Development - Residential and SME Markets, EDF Energy
Maria Antoniou, Development Manager, Friends Centre
Martin Grimshaw, Transition Brighton and Hove
Vernice Halligan, Head of Employer Engagement & Michael Buckman, Curriculum Manager, City College Brighton and Hove
Steve Charter, Director, SC2 Sustainability Consultancy
19a Chairman’s Introduction
Cllr Randall opened the session and welcomed the witnesses. This was the fourth and final session of the Panel and they were very aware that it was important to look at the wider community and not look at Brighton & Hove in isolation.
19b Graham Tubb, Head of Energy Policy, SEEDA
Mr Tubb thanked the Panel for inviting him and remarked he had been impressed by the quality of the contributions made to the Panel to date. He set out where SEEDA was coming from – they had long recognised the importance of the environmental industries. In 2003 they commissioned a study of the environmental economy, within a broad definition. This identified 200,000 people employed in the sector, which was second only to financial services in importance. EnviroBusiness had been appointed to take this work on. The Stern Report had reframed the agenda and the Regional Economy Strategy (RES) was taking this on. Climate change was now economic aswell as environmental – it was the change agenda. The new term is NINJ – New Industry, New Jobs. 300,000 people were employed in ‘clean tech’ industries, including nuclear, with £11bn combined sales, and ½% of the global market. If this was extrapolated, by 2016, the South East’s share of the market would be around £26bn. It was this big opportunity that convinced SEEDA to work with EnviroBusiness to take matters forward.
It required a major transition to take this forward. A refocusing on what the region needed, targeting priority areas and placing greater strategic engagement with regional partners. There needed to be a focus on sector and cluster initiatives. SEEDA would be working more closely with the EU and the European Investment Bank (EIB) as they realised they had not done enough of this in the past.
There were 8 Innovation and Growth Teams (IGTs) funded by SEEDA that would support 2000 companies with benefits to 4000 by 2016. B&H were in phase 2 of the bidding round in the IGTs. SEEDA were pinning a lot on the environmental technologies but there were many drivers to make it happen.
Within NINJ, there were 4 targets: carbon capture and storage; offshore; nuclear’; and low carbon vehicles. There was the promise of a global market for carbon capture and low carbon industries.
By the end of the month, there would be new targets in the Renewable Environmental Strategy which would be bottom-up targets. There was the idea of the ‘triple dividend’ which would help deliver the low carbon economy, get environmental benefits, and create burgeoning markets. The 8 ‘diamond’ leaders had just signed up to delivering the climate change targets by 1014 rather than 2016 and a web guide had just been published.
Deployment of renewable energy was needed across the region which was a huge challenge but also provided opportunities. A paper went to the SEEDA Board last month on tackling climate change. It reflected the fact that SEEDA had less money than previously so there needed to be a new way of doing things. One idea in the paper was that of the low carbon escalator, where community groups are supported and then taken up to the next level of funding, supported and helped to broker deals.
SEEDA set great store by public procurement to develop markets. Forward procurement was a stimulus for initiative, that is, the idea that if a company developed a product in the next 20 years then the local authority would commit to buying it. SEEDA were very supportive of innovative SMEs and helped to bridge the gap between innovation and taking the product forward. This was the so-called “Valley of Death”: to counter this, funding was provided upfront to bridge the gap between innovation and making a profit. There was the notion of a green bond whereby unused corporation tax allowances were used to bridge this gap.
SEEDA were very interested in the potential offshore work at Newhaven – 1 in 3 of the round 3 bidders planned to have construction at Newhaven and it was also in the Government Ports Prospectus as a port with potential. There was a definite need for a port for offshore wind to work. The value of offshore wind was the supply chain benefits. SEEDA were also interested in the Thames Gateway and the cluster of power stations and points of carbon clusters. SEEDA had also given their support to Dungness as an existing site.
SEEDA plan to bid to the EIB for region-wide housing retrofit package focussed on cities. This idea was consistent with the Government’s £4bn package in the budget.
Councillors then asked questions.
Cllr Randall: Within the new slimmed down SEEDA, would this area still be a priority?
Answer: this would be mainstreamed because it had been identified as a high value-added opportunity five years ago. The climate change agenda had made this a transformational opportunity for the region. It would be a key area for SEEDA. There will be regulation as well as opportunities so SEEDA would encourage first mover advantage. There was an urgency around climate change so progress must be made and it was important to get there first and create a market niche.
Cllr Davis – why has the relationship with the EU changed?
Answer: SEEDA always had a presence in Brussels and a joint panel with the regional assembly so they had access to policy making – but not enough. Now they were administrating the Regional Development Fund (RDF) and work would come out of that. In the past, they had spoken to EIB but nothing had come out of it. Since the region was seen as a prosperous one, it was not an EIB priority. However, now the EIB was engaged in low carbon, prosperity was not an issue.
Cllr Harmer-Strange: what is the real intent of the Government concerning Newhaven?
Answer: The Government woke up last year to the opportunities for UK ports in offshore and that they had not really taken advantage of it. One global company had spoken to ministers and told them there was no offer from the UK to the offshore wind industry so the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) had a workshop with the port owners and operators in March to get things moving. There was a further meeting scheduled for next month. Currently the port is French owned so there is not much engagement with the local community. The London Array (planned as 1gw in the outer Thames Gateway) had identified Ramsgate as a construction site. It would have taken 6 years to construct so would have created between 1500 and 2000 jobs over that period and would have created 100-200 sustainable jobs in operations and maintenance for the next 20 years.
Thurston Crockett: why was Newhaven picked and not Shoreham?
Answer: There were access problems with Shoreham as there was a narrow channel that would be an obstacle for the large barges needed to bring the components in. Once the turbine was assembled, it also needed huge barges to float the turbines out to sea on. Shoreham could be used for operational and maintenance work but that depended on how much was invested in the infrastructure.
Thurston Crockett: Concerning the EIB, public sector housing in B&H was smaller than average, and was in the upper quartile in energy conservation. The private sector was the problem – how flexible was the EIB bid?
Answer: It would cover the private sector through and Energy Services Company (ESCo). Nick King was the contact to discuss this further.
Thurston Crockett: What were the opportunities and special area for focus for B&H?
Answer: Not specific industries, apart from offshore wind and offshore renewables (tidal etc) where there were lots of opportunities with a nexus of companies in that area. Clustering was a way forward in terms of centres of excellence. In Bremerhaven (in Germany), the city gave free land as a test site on the condition that any subsequent manufacturing was done on the land. Local authorities must be innovative. There was not enough going on public procurement.
19c Christine D’Cruz, Head of Business Development (Residential and SME Markets) EDF Energy
EDF Energy was a major employer in Portslade and very different from the old SEEBOARD. They acquired British Energy and were one of the largest energy companies in the UK. They were the number one electricity producer in the UK and supplied a quarter of the nations’ electricity from nuclear, coal, and gas fired stations and also Combined Heat and Power (CHP) and 2 wind farms plus a developing one in Teeside. In London, the South East and East of England they had 5.5m business and residential customers through their network. 40% of the economy depended on EDF keeping the lights on. EDF was a key player in the national infrastructure, for example, they had 4 private networks for airports, the London Underground, and the Channel Tunnel. EDF employed 20,000 people across the UK and was part of the EDF Group, one of the largest power companies in the world with its head office in Paris. They were also a partner to the London 2012 Olympics and ParaOlympics.
investments were structured around creating a low carbon
Technologies and skills for ‘secure’ low carbon affordable infrastructure were needed: the ‘green economy’ required one million more jobs by 2030. EDF had a skills issue across the whole business from keeping the lights on, to nuclear power, to building wind farms to delivering carbon reduction targets in homes and smart metering.
Nuclear build – EDF were building four new European Pressurized Reactors (EPR) in the UK with the first one due to be operational by 2017. This would provide considerable commercial opportunities for the supply chain and workers. There would be 150 contracts worth billions on build programmes. On 30 June EDF would be running a new nuclear supplier forum.
There was a review of DSPR5 (which was a review of networks) and it was looking at smart grids and attaching renewable to grids. At the moment, the structure of energy was that of large cathedrals around the country with power going out to homes. EDF were now looking at the creation of energy to go back to the grid from micro generation. There were challenges inherent in this, and in the ageing workforce.
Electric vehicles - EDF had 4000 people working in R&D, mainly near Paris. They also worked closely with SPRU, and have a unit at SInC with a team working with Elektromotive. The Centre in Paris had been looking at vehicles for over 50 years. EDF had been helping Elektromotive to open doors and had put in over 50 electric bays across London and would put in 250 in total. Through this relationship with Elektromotive and group capabilities, EDF were leaders in setting up standards for plugging in electric vehicles in car parks, shopping malls etc. They sat on the London Electric Vehicle Partnership and worked with Government on the understanding of how it will all work. By 2020 around 2% of the car parc (6,00000) in the UK would be electric or plug in hybrid vehicles. Plug in hybrid cars used twice as much electricity as all electric cars because of customer behaviour.
Cllr Randall – how does this relate to our region?
The South East was likely to be the primary area for the use and sale of electric vehicles because of commuters and consumer attitudes. So the region was likely to lead the way,
Homes – the Government has mandated a move towards smart metering. 45m meters will need to be changed starting in 2 years time. All meters in all homes need to be changed: the two way communications in the meters mean as well as people to change the meters, communications experts would also be required.
Nuclear provides a flat production of energy with gas and coal used to manage peak demand. In order to be low carbon, the peaks needed to be reduced and smart metering would allow incentives to flatten peak demand. People with the skills to predict demand would be required and EDF would be looking to the universities for this. EDF’s pricing and forecasting team were in Hove and there were 3 teams in Crawley who worked on planning. There were also 1200 people in Bexley Heath. The Community Energy Saving Programme team were based in Hove. EDF’s carbon emissions reduction target is 9% and they would mainly do this through insulating homes.
Cllr Randall – How do you think the Government could improve the insulation programme? Could it create a lot of jobs locally?
Answer: Loft insulation was very fragmented so EDF would operate through managing agents. The Government was now working with the major installors to create a more stable environment. The Government was doing a rather good job and energy suppliers worked well to meet targets. The issue arose when the market was disrupted by unplanned things.
The Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP) would start later this year. A pilot would be run and consultation had just finished. 19.2m tonnes of carbon needed to be saved by 2012 and this was totally focussed on the most deprived areas in the UK. 11 or 12 of these 3,300 areas were in B&H. EDF had written to all local authorities with what they needed them to do: namely to be involved with EDF (EDF would be fined 10% of group turnover if they had not made the target); to ensure they had the capability and project skills; to work closely with communities; to overcome difficulties with parking. EDF would probably run around 2-30 projects around the country on solid wall insulation and were looking for four areas to start this. EDF were asking local authorities that were engaged in doing programmes to come to EDF and request additional funding.
Cllr Harmer-Strange – where will the EPRs be based?
Answer – not made public yet,
Cllr Harmer-Strange – What would the advantages by for B&H?
Answer: Not sure as there were no nuclear teams based in B&H
Cllr Randall – what do you mean by ‘secure’ energy?
Answer: In terms of installation, EDF would go and check if all was installed correctly and that whatever was delivered was done so in a secure environment. There were health and safety issues. EDF would welcome the first Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP) to be in B&H.
Cllr Harmer-Strange – why London and not B&H, given that Elektromtiove are based here?
Answer: When electric vehicles first came out, it was about short journeys and London, Paris and Berlin lead on this because of the nature of commuting.
19d Maria Antoniou, Development Manager, Friends Centre
The Friends Centre was an independent Adult Education Centre, started in 1945 and provided skills for life (eg literacy, numeracy, English as a second language). They also provided information and guidance service for job seekers. The Friends Centre helped people meet their aspirations and promoted social tolerance. They helped 1,500 people per year from diverse backgrounds, and they were known for engaging those from lower groups, those who were out of work, homeless people, and those with mental health issues. The main centre was at Ivory Place in the Tarner Children’s Centre and this year they would be moving to One Brighton so there would be the opportunity to expand with four new classrooms. They were developing this along with the 10 ‘principles of living’ and were developing new courses around these principles. They were developing a One Planet learning programme due to start in January 2010 and they would try and embed these in all their work. The courses were in three groups: thinking courses (lifestyle, climate change, ethics); reskilling and forgotten skills; and more technological courses (retrofitting, car conversions etc).
The Friends Centre were also developing skills training and talking to Bioregional and City College to collaborate to run technical courses and professional courses as well as those for people entering employment. There were three main areas which would contribute to green jobs: (1) Developing capacity to retrofit homes and providing training and reskilling. In the past two years they had run a women and social enterprise course which could be a good model for green enterprise. (2) There was a significant capacity for growing local foods and materials (eg wood and willow) and courses could show how to market goods and help partner individuals with others. Also skills in recycling and redeveloping materials. (3) A smaller area was providing jobs to service the offshore wind industry (eg catering and loading) and the Centre could provide training and language courses for non-English speakers.
The Friends Centre, in partnership with others, had a role to play in developing green enterprises.
Cllr Davis – what are the numbers so far?
Answer: 1,500 people a year but with the new space, this may double.
Paula Murray: the courses on attitudinal changes are very interesting. Do you also do attitudinal work on the environment? As a charity are you looking to include the One Planet as part of your charitable objectives?
Answer: Environmental awareness was embedded already. Social justice and social awareness includes environmental awareness and this was at the heart of what they did.
Cllr Harmer-Strange – do you have any numbers for those who go into employment?
Answer: we can supply this information later.
19e Martin Grimshaw and John Kapp, Transition Brighton & Hove
John Kapp told the Panel that the objective of Transition Brighton & Hove was to raise awareness of the peak oil issue and over-reliance on oil. He represented the energy group and their objective was to prepare for the cessation of Russian gas and Middle Eastern oil, which had been threatened. Mr Kapp informed the Panel of the Energy Group’s wish list of renewable energy projects in Sussex which covered: power stations; combined heat and power; municipal waste disposal; municipal storage areas; public transport; and an Alternative Technology Centre. (The papers detailing this are attached as an Appendix to these minutes).
Martin Grimshaw was the co-ordinator of Livelihoods 2020. The Transition Group started 4 years ago and had spread to around 30 countries. There were more than 700 communities around the world looking at how to get where they wanted to be, with one eye on peak oil. It was an international forum and as such was chaotic – like an “adhoc-racy”. It was rooted in permaculture and ecology, for example, the idea of the “edge effects” where the woods and the edges meet there was lots of diversity and lots going on. B&H was like that: a small city where lots of things happen, lots of professionals and lots of students.
They were focussed on educational awareness and had a programme of events. They were supportive of the work of the Friends Centre and were supporting those working in sustainability, for example, there was a course next week on project management skills. The big vision is where is the city going? How can a path be woven between what is happening in the business community and all others? B&H can set a strong example by looking at its own services, for example, setting up an environmental management system (EMAS) that would create employment. A bold vision with a zero waste strategy.
As well as thinking about environmental industries, support should be offered to SMEs to minimise their impact on the environment. Overreliance on mono-cultures should be avoided and greater support given to SMEs. Livelihoods 2020 would encourage a ‘green hub’ - like a green Wired Sussex. They are working with The Werks and Brighton Media Centre and looking at spaces for small start ups to happen. They have office space from the Brighton Media Centre and they offer support in return. Eco-tourism offers lots of possibilities for employment.
Cllr Randall – the idea of helping small industries has come out before and workspace is also a theme. The Panel want to look across the spectrum of employment. The schemes outlined by Mr Kapp would be expensive and need costing. How many people were involved in Transition Towns?
Answer: over 500 people use the web forum and over 700 on the email list. About 50 people are active but it is a loose membership.
Thurstan Crockett: EMAS has long been an ambition! Now there were two pilot schemes, including BS1401 around venues and fleet and it will be used to introduce environmental management across the Council.
Cllr Harmer- Strange : Where would you put an ATC?
Answer – not sure but the Council owns a lot of land.
19f Greg Simmons, Technical Director, Elektromotive
Elektromotive first met with the Council two years ago and had a very heated meeting. They were asking for 2 car spaces (out of the 13,000 in the city). Elektromotive understood the difficulties with policies (air quality; congestion; financial implications and parking zones) but were shocked by the attitude of the parking service. The Chairman had noted that if air quality was reduced by giving 7,000 places away then their job was done but the meeting was otherwise hostile. Elektromotive left the meeting thinking there was no business to be done with the Council.
Now there was a more cohesive approach with parameters set and goals to be achieved. A meeting last week with the Council had been very constructive.
Elektromotive had a design office in Littlehampton. SiNC had been fantastic and they had met EDF informally there. They had built business associations with others in B&H – which had been much easier than with the Council in the past. Now the Council had put more thought into it and had provided more relevant (but fewer) people to the recent meeting.
Cllr Randall: What other things (other than provide office space) could the Council do?
Answer: it would be very useful to have a conduit in the Council who can help find the right people to contact on a particular issue. Usually people find Elektromotive, but a tool to help find relevant people would be helpful. The office at SiNC had been fantastic and services like that for SMEs so they can call on administrative help etc when things were busy, would be valuable.
Networking was important. Elektromotive were using PPP which was a Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) funded initiative through the Knowledge Transfer Programme (KTP). If Elektromotive had a particular issue (eg how to increase production) they contacted this knowledge transfer network who provided experts to give advice. It was a free service and very effective. It was a formal process whereby you put in a request and were supplied with an expert. It was big business helping small businesses.
Elektromotive were looking at how to interface between different boroughs and constituencies.
Thurstan Crockett: Would a move towards manufacturing 10,000 vehicles move manufacturing away from the region?
Answer: It would not be leaving the UK. They needed to adapt the processes used by the mainstream car industry. The manufacturing of one part would stay here and they were intending to stay local. The assembly in Lancing would remain. At the moment, they can get to all their key suppliers within an hour which was crucial in providing the ability to respond quickly to problems.
Cllr Davis – do you have any problems with skilled labour?
Answer: They tried to use the universities. The problem had been in the past with the process rather than the people. It was important to select the right people first time with a small company. It was easy to get to B&H so they do get applicants from around the region. It was easier now with the recession because in the past, they often couldn’t use contractors because of their high fees.
Cllr Harmer-Strange – how many people do you employ?
Answer: About 10 including administrative, designers etc. They were currently recruiting UK sales staff. They were working with the Technology Strategy Board and may need to staff up quickly so hope to employ more people in the future.
19g Vernice Hallingan, Head of Employer Engagement, and Michael Buckman, Curriculum Manager, City College Brighton & Hove
The College was in the process of strategic planning and want a curriculum that supports the city. They had a role to play in addressing the skills gap. They had between 800-1000 staff with 3 sites in the city and 2 small sites outside. The College ran full time and part time courses from basic entry to foundation degrees (for the University of Brighton). There were over 650 work, leisure, and technical courses with 7,500 learners and around 2000 employers on legislative based courses (eg electricians upgrading). Over 5000 adults were career-changers or gaining more qualifications and around 1,600 16-18year olds. There were 5,500 14-16year olds doing a 2 year vocational programme. Four groups were learning to build a green car and then would raise them around Goodwood Race Track. There were 500 students in engineering, also in painting, plumbing etc. The College was gearing up to deliver courses solar installation. Sustainability was central to the ethos of the College and students looked at sustainability, taking climate change into account. They also had students on work experience on sites such as One Brighton. There were courses on environmentally sensitive design and events promoting environmental issues.
In previous evidence Prof Jim Lynch said there was a skills shortage in the South East and the FE sector was particularly poorly served – and they agreed with this. City College had put a £100m bid into the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) for a new campus in Pelham Street and a college attached to Falmer football stadium. Since the Government had over-stimulated demand from colleges, the LSC was inundated. The College hoped to hear by the end of June and if it went ahead, it would provide a state of the art technical centre for training in engineering and construction. Every year students would build a two storey ecological house using all trades working together and then would take it back down again.
City College engaged with a number of employers in the city and a new team had recruited 800 new learners who were apprentices or work-based learners. They needed to do more to engage with green industries and employers. They were focussed on delivering apprenticeships. It was hard to recruit locally on engineering skills courses: they had a cohort of Nigerian and Middle Eastern students. They worked a lot nationally and exported expertise to countries such as Saudi Arabia.
They would like the Council to buy local in terms of skills and training and encourage others to do so aswell and not buy this in from other areas. B&H should position itself to attract inward investment because of its well trained workforce. The College would work with EDF, the Friends Centre and others to provide courses.
Cllr Randall – is training open to all ages? What percentage is re-training?
Answer: There were 50 or 60 learners in each group area (so quite a lot altogether) that were career changers or learning new skills. They ran short courses on sustainability too. Small organisations find it difficult to pay for training, which was a barrier.
Cllr Davis – do you do follow-up to make sure the courses work?
Answer – Yes
Cllr Harmer-Strange - Is it difficult to get buy-in locally to apprenticeships?
Answer: It was not difficult for apprentices but difficult for companies. The public sector needed to take on apprentices and the College were working with the Council on this. The dedicated team in the College had placed 400 new apprentices this year; they were starting to find young people losing their jobs now so they were doing a lot around this.
Cllr Harmer- Strange – what companies are you working with?
Answer: we haven’t analysed this but we can do so and look at where the drivers were coming from.
Cllr Harmer- Strange – what retraining is there for adult apprenticeships?
Answer: Government funding had been reduced for colleges and was no longer available for adult apprenticeships. This was an issue and they were negotiating with Government.
Cllr Harmer-Strange – what was the biggest obstacle to getting apprenticeships?
Answer: Jobs! It was about commitment for 4 years.
19h Steve Charter, Director, SC2 Sustainability Consultancy
A lot of work was around sustainable projects and understanding delivery at a local level. Mr Charter had been in the sustainability field since 1993 and had focussed on sustainable construction since the late 1990s. He proposed and helped set up eco-housing in Somerset . He was working with Kirklees on putting in place a sustainability programme and was working with universities and colleges. It was about understanding the system to create change. In 2005 SUSCON became focussed on sustainable building skills and following this, he worked on a proposal for the development of a sustainable enterprise park in Brighton (eg at Preston Barracks). There were a lot of strengths to that approach, but now they were looking at clustering.
Mr Charter was part of a team to develop the first ever sustainable futures strategy in Kent. A lot can be learnt from the creative industries sector. The UK lags behind Germany and the Far East in environmental industries but was a leader in creative industries. Physical clustering made a big difference to virtual clustering – both are invaluable. The sustainable futures industrial sector (including land so broader than environmental industries) was a new sector and needed a strategic informed approach. It was about committing to sustainable projects. We needed to understand the weaknesses in the UK and look at best practice in the UK and abroad. Flagship projects, events, demonstrations, and showrooms were all important. Kirklees Council were looking at how their staff needed to develop competence in the area, and looking at the Building Schools for the Future programme and how the contacts can be used to train their own professionals.
Business support for SMEs was needed, aswell as for other businesses that don’t know about sustainable skills. Working across partnerships was very important. Sustainable procurement was vital and LM3 was a vital tool for understanding local multiplier effects. There were also global opportunities: the local/global balance was important and it was not an either/or.
The Council could not deal with climate change without developing capacities and technologies. The OECD estimated that 50% of the products needed in the next 50 years have yet to be invented. Supporting SMEs was very important for employment generation. A sector development strategy was required: the creative industries worked because it was a sectoral strategy. The approach needed was: to create a strategy; to look at how the Council can stimulate demand; sustainable procurement; and to think about a B&H ESCO or multi-ESCO as an economic vehicle.
Cllr Randall: that was a very useful summary. What is LM3?
Answer: A software tool to measure 3 cycles of spending after the first one and see what proportion of spending stays in the local economy. Reliance on national and global markets had led to the recent collapse. In construction, vast amounts of money were going out of the local economy. If you take a bigger slice of the local economy year on year, then the local economy is strengthened.
Cllr Randall: the approach has to be in the DNA of a local authority.
Answer: the strategy needed to go hand in hand with a strong vision. Ambition and political championing will lead to success.
The Chairman thanked all the witnesses for a very interesting and informative session.