London's 'thriving' green economy


London’s green economy is booming and is expected to grow further in future years, new figures have shown.

The low carbon and environmental goods and services sector grew by more than four per cent during 2009-2010, according to a report commissioned by mayor of London Boris Johnson. Some 160,000 people were employed by the sector across 9,000 companies and the capital’s green economy is set to grow further, the figures compiled by Innovas show.

London is ranked top of all UK regions in 13 of the 23 individual areas considered as part of the green economy. The capital scores particularly highly in waste management, carbon finance, solar/photovoltaics and geothermal, which includes local heat networks, power plants and ground source heat pumps.

Carbon finance is worth almost £6bn to the London economy and involves nearly 23,000 people employed across 2,000 businesses. The capital accounts for 97 per cent of the UK’s carbon finance market.

Johnson said: “Making London an energy efficient, low carbon city is not only vital to meet environmental challenges, but it will also attract significant new investment into the city and create tens of thousands of jobs for Londoners. These figures clearly show that the capital is already established as a leader in low carbon finance and it is encouraging to see our city gathering strength in other significant areas of the green economy, such as renewable energy and low carbon building technologies.

“The focus of our programmes designed to improve London’s environment and our quality of life, are helping to stimulate this growing sector of our economy, for example, our initiatives to retrofit tens of thousands of buildings with energy efficiency measures.”

Companies involved with combined heat and power technology, heat networks and photovoltaics help make the capital strong in decentralised energy. Johnson has set a goal of delivering 25 per cent of London’s energy from decentralised sources by 2025, so companies in this part of the sector will be particularly important in achieving this aim.

Innovas’ figures are also broken down by each London borough. The City of London is the centre of carbon finance and this helps it take the largest share of the green sector. Dagenham & Barking and Westminster also have high shares of the green market because of their strengths in geothermal energy, waste management, alternative fuel vehicles and building technologies.