Fourth Industrial Revolution gathering momentum in the West of England

Author
Ian Bell
Executive Director of Bath Chamber of Commerce and Initiative
1st November 2018

A process has just started to produce a blueprint for the West of England, setting out how the area can benefit from the next Industrial Revolution. But this time it won’t be about factories belching smoke, but rather how to develop modern manufacturing, making green technologies.

One of the objectives is to ensure we can leverage funding from Government to build more homes more quickly, to seek investment to improve public transport and improve skill levels.

The Mayor for the West of England Combined Authority announced how a fresh industrial strategy for the sub-region can be created, which responds to changing circumstances and puts us in the best position to be able to take advantage of the development of industries of the future.

It’s really important that our district plays a significant role because there is huge effort being put in by companies along the M4 corridor and we must not be left behind.

The whole of the West of England has a strong track record in energy, sustainability, digital and low carbon start-up companies. There is a large smart energy cluster and we have some brilliant expertise in our Universities and Colleges. For example, The University of Bath’s Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems which is working on the vehicles of the future – particularly relevant with a Clean Air Zone on the horizon.

We should do what we can to support businesses with key skills such as green retro fitting, modern architecture, engineering and technical innovation. It’s not only ethically right, but there is a solid business reason for doing it because by one estimate, the UK’s clean economy could grow at four times the rate of GDP. That means new industries being created and existing industries transformed as we move towards a low carbon, more resource-efficient economy.

In recent times we have sometimes concentrated on supporting creative industries, perhaps now is the time to turn our attention to modern manufacturing to create a balanced economy which will produce jobs for all.

As always I would be keen to hear what people think about the issue by sending comments to: info@bathchamber.co.uk

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