Just over a year after the coalition promise to become the ‘greenest government’ ever, uncertainties and policy changes stir a confidence crisis in the UK’s cleantech industry. With countries like Finland, South Korea and China still investing strong in the industry, the UK’s cleantech sector is falling short on its promise of economic growth and job creation. However, as investors insist that clean technologies are the future for the UK, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Results of a survey conducted by Ernst & Young revealed that out of 602 participating executives, just 14% are optimistic about future cleantech growth potential. This compares to figures of 65% optimism from last Novembers survey and comes just a few months after the UK dropped 10 places to the 13th in the rankings of the highest global investor in clean technologies. The community surveyed also expressed doubts that the UK could remain internationally competitive in the industry. Steve Lang, Ernst & Young’s UK Cleantech Leader stated that the UK is going through a ‘hiatus’ period, but needs to act urgently to avoid being left behind. He claims that the governments uncertain policies and u-turn on renewable energy investment are behind the confidence slump, where promises were made, but little clarity given. Lang also stated that these cuts are “highly damaging” and affecting the UK’s green industry as a whole. The coalition, who initially insisted that green energy and efficiency were to be major drivers of economic growth, are planning to “put this country on a different trajectory.” Greg Barker, minister at the department of energy and climate change stated last week that “when we have changed course and our new measures are in place we will be primed for success.” The future is not all gloom for cleantech though, Ernst and Young’s European Attractiveness Survey revealed that as well as the UK being ranked number one in Europe for inward foreign direct investment, the international community are much more upbeat about the UK’s potential in clean technologies. Ernst and Young state that even though business & software services still lead in the UK, cleantech could dominate in the future. 19% of all survey respondents considered that clean technology is an important growth area for the UK market, making it the third most important sector in the eyes of investors, up from tenth in 2009. “Even though investor confidence in the UK has taken a hit over the past six months, the cleantech sector as a whole continues to represent a very attractive future market.” Steve Lang. Are you a Cleantech Startup? Join the Innovation Exchange!
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