‘Yes Minister, but…’

CSE leads discussion with Secretary of State and business community

25 February 2011

What does Bristol’s green business sector need from national energy policy in order to thrive? This was the discussion topic led by CSE’s Chief Executive Simon Roberts at a business roundtable attended by Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne and key local businesses and organisations.

The event was hosted by Forum for the Future and took place above the Arnolfini Art Gallery during the Secretary of State’s visit to Bristol in February 2011.

Simon said “Bristol has one of the largest environmental technologies sectors in the UK and a stated desire to encourage further growth and job creation in this area and reduce the city’s carbon footprint by 40% by 2020. But the sector needs the right national energy policies if it is both to help the city achieve its goals and support thriving national and international businesses.”

Simon focused on two key aspects of national policy in leading the discussion with Mr Huhne.

“The Government needs to ensure that its new – and broadly welcome – emphasis on localism in planning needs to be balanced with programmes which help ensure this has a strong low carbon dimension when put into practice locally. Otherwise localism risks becoming synonymous with parochialism and blocking renewable energy development.

"And the Government needs to design the Green Deal programme – being developed to drive the low carbon refurbishment of the UK’s housing stock – so that it really fits with locally-driven, area-based initiatives that drive public engagement and enable the take-up economic benefits to be captured by local businesses and communities ”

Chris Huhne welcomed CSE’s contribution and asked for further information on the policy details which would enable him and his Department to deliver these outcomes.


In 2009, CSE was employed by Bristol City Council to assist in developing policies which positively encourage lower energy consumption (and hence carbon emissions) from buildings, alongside greater sustainable energy generation.

For more about the city-wide sustainable energy study click here.

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