Hertfordshire’s low carbon environmental industries account for an impressive 12.4% of the county’s GDP with 2,000 businesses employing 40,000 people, new research on the county’s green economy has found.
The market study commissioned by Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Hertfordshire Innovation Quarter (Herts IQ), also revealed the sector has potential for sales growth of 50% in just four years, reaching £8.3bn in 2025/26 from £5.8bn in 2021/22.
The report titled ‘Hertfordshire’s Green Economy: Low Carbon Environmental Goods and Services Sector (LCEGS),’ also found that three sub-sectors are particularly strong in Hertfordshire: Building Technologies, Alternative Fuels and Vehicles and Geothermal. Industry experts kMatrix carried out the study and found that these sectors have no significant scalability barriers and contributed a larger proportion of sales as a percentage of GDP than the national average.
In addition, Low Carbon Environmental sales accounted for 12.4% of the county’s GDP, which is 1% above the average for the UK as a whole.
And while the sector saw similar recovery to the rest of the UK from the economic shock of the Covid-19 pandemic, carbon finance was an exception in Hertfordshire in that it saw 1.1% growth, potentially because of some activity moving out of London. Hydro, wave and tidal, and contaminated land also performed better than the UK average, post-Covid.
The report is a key component of Hertfordshire LEP and Herts IQ’s , a countywide approach to achieving a greener, more sustainable, economy.
The strategy, the first of its kind for Hertfordshire, sets out a critical agenda for businesses and identifies a series of actions to help reach net zero targets. Some will be led by the LEP recognizing its role as a key driver for economic growth. Other actions will be taken forward in partnership with Hertfordshire Growth Board and Hertfordshire Climate Change and Sustainability Partnership, which is how local authorities are working together on environmental, climate change and wider sustainability issues. One of the first tasks identified in the strategy was to understand the scale and nature of LCEGS sector.
Adrian Hawkins OBE, Chair, Herts LEP Main Board, Skills Advisory Panel and Stevenage Development Board, said: “These findings represent the start of incredible opportunities in Hertfordshire, from economic growth to new jobs and momentum in the net zero journey. When we launched our clean growth strategy, the green economy was not well understood and our earliest priority was to address this.
“Now, with the full potential of the sector made apparent we will be able to bring the full range of the LEP’s levers to bear, to unlock and accelerate its growth.”
Actions from the LEP will include development of skills provision, business support programmes and setting up a Clean Growth Industry Panel.
Herts Innovation Quarter
Herts IQ will refresh its vision to focus on LCEGS’s largest and growing subsectors, and to attract enviro tech businesses to locate in the innovation quarter.
Neil Rutledge, Chair, Herts IQ, said: “The economic potential of the green economy means exciting times lie ahead for Hertfordshire’s business and residents. At Herts IQ, we are ideally placed to support businesses in these newly-identified growth sectors. Clusters of clean tech companies are already based here attracted by top-notch premises and free business support. Along with our partners, we look forward to connecting with start-ups and scale-ups in these high-growth sectors and with those seeking to relocate to Hertfordshire to advance their business.”
When we launched our clean growth strategy, the green economy was not well understood and our earliest priority was to address this. Now, with the full potential of the sector made apparent we will be able to bring the full range of the LEP’s levers to bear, to unlock and accelerate its growth.