Robert Hough

NWDA chair Hough launches climate change conference

Michael Hunt

Robert Hough, chair of the North West Development Agency, will open the third annual Climate Change Conference in Manchester today, highlighting the region's key strengths and opportunities for business as part of a low-carbon economy.

Joined by a number of speakers, the conference will include the launch of the revised Northwest Climate Change Action Plan for 2010-2012, refocusing the commitment of the region towards achieving the Action Plan's goal of a well-adapting and low carbon North West.

The conference is a chance to highlight the Climate Change Partnership's achievements, highlighting the region's strengths within research and development, skills provision, finance to assist businesses and improving efficiency.

The event will include a number of announcements from the NWDA, including a £4m investment for a rural carbon challenge fund through the rural development programme for England. This fund will deliver a minimum of five large-scale renewable projects in rural areas, providing the training and support to encourage social and micro-enterprises to develop renewable energy projects.

Other speakers include Philip Sellwood, chief executive of Energy Saving Trust, Matthew Wright, managing director of asset management & delivery at United Utilities, and Richard Ellis, group head of CSR at Alliance Boots.

Hough said: "Whilst much has already been achieved in the region, the first Climate Change Action Plan was only the beginning of our response. The emerging regional strategy for the North West will help to build on the Government's focus for delivering sustainable economic growth. With a growing emphasis on the challenges and opportunities climate change presents, developing a low carbon economy will be essential in delivering our wider vision for the region's future.

"The new Climate Change Action Plan provides a clear and robust framework to ensure the Northwest is in the best possible position to contribute to national carbon reduction targets, and increase resilience to climate impacts. Equally as important will be our ability to capitalise on the economic opportunities this brings."

The conference takes place at the Midland Hotel in Manchester from 9am and runs until 1pm.

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