Fringe Box



Letter: Guildford Excellence – Don’t Forget The Green Economy

Published on: 14 Nov, 2012
Updated on: 14 Nov, 2012
From Peter Slade
Alderman Bridger is to be congratulated on producing some excellent suggestions on the way ahead for Guildford in his opinion piece: How Can We Make Guildford A Centre Of World Excellence? However he has omitted any mention of the part that could be played by the “green economy” in Guildford’s future, which I believe must be an important part of the mix. Nationally it is already important. In 2011 the green economy (goods and services) was worth £122 bn, 8% of GDP and grew at 4.7%.

Environmental sustainability, making the transition to a low carbon, resource- and energy-efficient economy, should be an important component of Guildford’s future and this will not always be compatible with the type of economic growth which has been one of the drivers of Guildford’s (and the UK’s and the world’s) economy in recent decades.

As a contribution to a more environmentally sustainable Guildford, the Borough Council and other stakeholders should aim to foster a “green economy “. Indeed, why shouldn’t Guildford set itself the aim of becoming the environmental capital of the UK? This will mean focusing policies, investments and spending towards a range of sectors, such as clean technologies, renewable energies, green transportation and green buildings. The University and the Research Park could play a major role in this by orientating some of their research activities towards renewable energy and environmental technology.

To help reduce the amount of traffic congestion, there needs to be a much better and cheaper system of public transport. Better facilities for cycling are also needed to encourage more use of that method of transport.

To help in the process of becoming more environmentally sustainable Guildford should follow the example of its twin city of Freiburg, which over recent years has developed as a “Green City” and is now one of the world’s greenest cities, with the eventual aim of becoming a carbon-free city

With leadership from the City Council, it has promoted renewable energy, environmental technology, solar businesses, sustainable construction, excellent public transport and cycling infrastructure. The Green City attracts investors and tourists and trade fairs and symposia. Freiburg is now the home of a very large number of businesses involved in environmental technology.

Although Freiburg is currently more environmentally advanced than Guildford, the two towns face many similar problems and the issues involved in how our twin city will guide its future economy have similarities to ours. Guildford should therefore collaborate with Freiburg and learn from its example, inevitably not following a precise prescription but emulating the general approach it has taken. Not to do so would be an opportunity lost.

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Responses to Letter: Guildford Excellence – Don’t Forget The Green Economy

  1. Gordon Bridger Reply

    November 14, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    Peter Slade makes several valuable points which I omitted. However, it was the intention of this strategy paper to elicit such ideas and I hope others will contribute.

    The strategy is radically different from the one hitherto pursued (and still being pursued) by council officials and their retail consultants. So could I please ask those who support it to contact their councillors and ask them to do so.

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