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20.02.06
Building a better green future

A leading government adviser will argue at a conference on 21st February that organisations and businesses across South West England must do more for the benefit of both the environment and the economy.

Writer and broadcaster Jonathon Porritt will explain how South West England has blazed a trail in developing the economy hand in hand with the environment. However, he believes the region needs to raise its game if it wants to maintain a high quality of life and healthy economy in the face of increasing competition from abroad.

A recent Government study has found that the region's Objective One and Two programmes have been the most successful in England in improving our economy and environment.

Councillor Brian Greenslade, Leader of Devon County Council which is hosting the conference, said: "By working in partnership, South West England is now acknowledged as the leading European region in demonstrating how environmental objectives can be integrated into economic development. This has created real economic and environmental advantages, such as green buildings that are also cheap to run, increased sales for businesses with green credentials and a more highly skilled workforce, generating sustainable development for the benefit of the whole region. I am delighted therefore that this conference is taking place in Devon.

Effective collaboration between key agencies has been vital to establishing our lead and we need to continue this momentum by continuing to work together, involving more people and promoting the benefits to a wide audience. This conference will recognise our achievements and also enable us to plan for our continued success."

The conference, to be held on 21-22 February at the Thistle Hotel in Exeter, will highlight examples from across the region where regeneration of the economy is supporting a better environment. Examples include the Cornwall Sustainable Tourism Project, the expansion of the Caddsdown Industrial Estate in Bideford and the creation of a community park in the Hartcliffe and Withywood area of Bristol.

Simon Hooton, Director of Policy and Strategy at the South West of England Regional Development Agency (RDA), said: "The environment is central to the work of the RDA and its partners, because we know how important it is to recognise the positive contribution it makes to South West England's economy. Protecting our environment can go hand in hand with good business performance and contribute to a healthy, sustainable economy as many South West-based businesses have shown. It's now time we shared our success with others attending the conference from across the EU so that governments and other organisations take a similar approach to ours in future."

Mark Yeoman, Deputy Director of the Objective One Partnership for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, will also be speaking at the conference. He said: "This region is well known for its beautiful natural and historic environment. With Objective One, economic and environmental regeneration go hand in hand with the aim of making the region a better place to live while attracting visitors and business to boost the economy."

Over the past six years every organisation or business that has applied for Objective One or Two investment has been given advice on how to improve their financial and environmental performance. This approach has been acknowledged as innovative and effective by the European Commission.

An additional event at the Met Office on 23 February will allow European colleagues to hear more about successful projects in South West England that have brought together the environment and the economy and to present their own experiences.

For further information please contact Fiona Clampin, of South West RDA press office on 01392 229583 or e-mail: fiona.clampin@southwestrda.org.uk.

The Environment is one of three cross cutting themes which must be addressed by all projects with Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Objective One investment.

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Editor's notes:

1. The South West of England Regional Development Agency was established by government in 1999 to promote the long-term economic success of the region. It does this by working with others to give people the skills they need, encourage enterprise, improve infrastructure, help communities with regeneration and promote the strengths of the region.
2. The conference is supported by Government Office for the South West, Devon County Council, the Objective One partnership for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, the South West RDA, the Environment Agency, the Countryside Agency and English Nature and is part-financed by the European Union.
3. Devon County Council works with GOSW, the South West RDA, the Environment Agency, Countryside Agency and English Nature to deliver the South West Objective Two programme. They employ an Environmental Sustainability Theme Manager who helps every applicant to the fund deliver environmentally sound projects and monitors the programme's overall environmental performance. The programme is committed to leaving a positive 'legacy' by extending the environmental approach pioneered by the South West Objective 1 & 2 programmes to other economic development programmes. Devon County Council is the only South West council with a 4-star top-rating from the Audit Commission for quality services and value for money. www.devon.gov.uk
4. The Met Office is hosting an additional event as part of Greening Regional Development Programmes, a European-wide network to improve knowledge of economic development which respects the environment.

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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