The Green Alliance - a UK-based environmental think-tank has released a report that shows that Britain's Green Economy is growing, despite the recession, and now employs more people than the motor trade: 939,600 as opposed to 518,400 in motor manufacture and retail. The Green Economy sector has shown itself to be remarkably resilient in the face of the UK's economic troubles, and its turnover grew 20% during the period 2008-10 when UK GDP was actually shrinking.
The report also shows that there has been a huge private investment in low-carbon infrastructure projects, with the top 20 attracting £14.5 billion ($23.5 bn) in private funding, with a further £7bn ($11.2 bn) in public/private partnerships and only £1.4 bn ($2.3 bn) in public funding, making a total of £23 bn ($37 bn).
More good news is in the green exports section of the report. The UK is an exporter of green products and technologies all over the globe, even having a trade surplus in green technology with Germany of £121 million ($196 mil). It is also a hub for the legal, managerial and financial expertise which are necessary to any green project: one-third of all global asset finance deals in the energy sector received UK legal and financial advice, and the skill base is essential to many environmental projects.
The report concludes that the green economy is a UK success story:
"We are often told of the benefits that come from creating a greener economy and the advantage that will come from being a first mover. It is now clear that we don't need to wait for these benefits. The UK has moved and we are seeing the advantage.
"Our low carbon and environmental sector has shown that it's not just for the good times, but that it has continued to grow steadily even whilst broader economic activity slows. This is the outcome of setting ambitious environmental targets and creating long term market incentives for green goods and services. It has given the private sector confidence to invest billions of pounds in these markets. In contrast, the UK's high carbon infrastructure projects now have much lower leverage on private capital and are being propped up by greater proportions of public spending.
"The return on our investment in greening the economy is being felt across the country, with nearly a million people now employed in providing low carbon and environmental goods and services, outstripping employment in other sectors such as telecoms. Quietly and without fanfare, green business has become a UK success story, at home and abroad. We now export more green products and services to our competitors than we import from them, and we have become the green financing capital of the world.
"This success should be celebrated. With greater public recognition and stronger confidence green businesses can help secure a faster and more resilient economic recovery."