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Low carbon economy worth £45bn

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The UK’s low carbon and renewable energy (LCRE) economy grew by 6.8% to £44.5bn in 2017, according to the latest annual environmental industry survey undertaken by the Office for National Statistics. However, employment figures remained relatively static, up just 0.6% to 209,500 full-time equivalents.

The research is based on a survey sent to 24,000 businesses with a response rate of 83%, with 2,850 businesses found to be operating within the defined LCRE sectors. The LCRE economy accounted for 1% of total UK non-financial turnover and employment in 2017.

The LCRE economy is divided into six main groups made up of 17 sub-sectors. The six core elements are: low carbon heat; low carbon electricity; low carbon services; low emission vehicles; energy efficient products and energy from waste and biomass.

Businesses in the energy efficient products grouping continue to make up a large proportion of the LCRE economy, accounting for almost half (46.5%) of turnover at £20.7bn and two-thirds of staff numbers (142,100 full time equivalents).

LCRE economy growth was attributed to the performance of businesses classified as electricity producers – primarily nuclear, bioenergy, offshore and onshore wind – growing by 30% from £8.7bn to £11.3bn in 2017.

Exports of goods and services from businesses within the LCRE economy grew 32% to stand at £5bn in 2017 thanks to strong overseas demand for UK low emission vehicle and offshore wind products. LCRE economy acquisitions fell by 35% in value in 2017 to £5.6bn, with offshore and onshore wind transactions falling by over 50% to £2.6bn.

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