UK Green Economy Lags Behind Following Launch Of Europe’s Most Advanced Eco Village

UK-based Oxford Sustainable Group, Europe’s largest renewable energy and sustainable development business, has announced the launch of Oxford Park, the most advanced sustainable village in Europe. Located near Tallinn, Estonia, the £170m project is a carefully planned sustainable community that consists of infrastructure, energy and social provision to meet the needs of its residents and the businesses that choose to locate there.

The Oxford Sustainable Group has designed Oxford Park using its Oxford 360 degree Sustainability Index. This has allowed it to create a community that is well in advance of UN Principles of Responsible Investment (PRI) norms for sustainability. This considers the broader requirements of the residents, surrounding economic, environmental, energy, educational, transport and leisure needs as well as long-term job creation, regeneration, finance and investment requirements. The Oxford Sustainable Group has shown that by taking a holistic approach to sustainable development it can increase profitability while benefitting other stakeholders including residents, the local and wider economcy, society and environment.

“Sustainability means a lot more than planning carbon neutral buildings or trendy underground transport systems,” said Hadley Barrett, chief executive of OSG. “We can only create truly sustainable communities if we consider all of the stakeholders in a project. That includes government, investors, and the entire supply chain – as well as the people who will live and work there – and be able to supply a sustainable product at the right price. True sustainability does not mean higher prices.

“We have a practical and down-to-earth approach for Oxford Park that is successful, sustainable and economically viable – investors do not need to turn to projects in the Middle East for green growth. We would like to replicate the planning success of Oxford Park in the UK but we need simplified regulation which allows ‘good developers’ to be fast-tracked rather than held back. We do not need more definitions of carbon free homes, we need facilitating regulation which allows trusted partners to move quickly and effectively and bring about positive changes through entrepreneurship. Practical government agencies from Finland and other locations have been asking us to help them replicate the success of Oxford Park in their countries. Currently the UK is lagging behind.”

Plans for worlds first green investment bank

The Business Secretary set out this week, his vision for the Green Investment Bank (GIB) as a new and enduring institution to complement existing green policies.

Vince Cable published a progress report on the GIB setting out more detail on its governance and business model.

The GIB’s mission will be to accelerate private sector investment in the UK’s transition to a green economy. It will play a vital role in addressing market failures which are holding back private sector investment.

Sectors likely to be eligible for intervention initially include offshore wind, non-domestic energy efficiency and waste. Work is ongoing to explore other sectors which will change over time.

Its initial remit will be to focus on green infrastructure assets and on the twin objectives of achieving significant green impact and making financial returns.

As the bank will need to be approved by the European Commission before it can be established, there will be a phased approach. Once it has been agreed, the GIB will be enshrined in legislation confirming its independent status as an enduring institution with a key public role.

In order to make rapid progress, the Government will make direct, state-aid compliant investments in green infrastructure projects from April 2012 until these investments can be transferred to the GIB.

The Business Secretary is also setting up an advisory group to provide strategic direction of the GIB. Today we can announce that Sir Adrian Montague will chair this group of independent finance experts.

Vince Cable said: “This is an opportunity for the UK to lead the way in the transition to a low carbon economy with the world’s first dedicated Green Investment Bank.

“The GIB will become a key component of this transition which needs significant investment over the coming decades.

“I’m delighted that Sir Adrian Montague has agreed to chair the advisory group. He has a wealth of experience that will help with the strategic direction of the GIB.”

Sir Adrian Montague, chair of the advisory group said: “The Green Investment Bank is a genuinely radical innovation. The keys to the GIB’s success are going to be precise targeting and brilliant execution.

“It is both a privilege, and an irresistible opportunity, to have been asked by the Secretary of State to chair the new institution’s Advisory Board. My first task is to advise on the membership of the Advisory Board. The GIB needs the best people in order to get off to a flying start.”