2011 Somerset in Business Conference is sell-out success

PUBLISHED: 13:41 08 June 2011 | UPDATED: 19:31 20 February 2013

2011 Somerset in Business Conference is sell-out success

2011 Somerset in Business Conference is sell-out success

The fifth Somerset in Business Conference took place at the Taunton Rugby Club, with over 200 delegates. Entitled 'Somerset – The Energy to Achieve', the Conference focused on low carbon energy generation and environmental technology

The fifth Somerset in Business Conference took place on 24 May at the Taunton Rugby Club, attracting over 200 delegates. Entitled Somerset The Energy to Achieve, the Conference focused exclusively on low carbon energy generation and environmental technology.

Chair of Into Somerset, Cllr Anne Fraser, said, Despite the recent tough economic times, Somerset and its business community has remained resolute, looking for new ways to stay competitive. Alongside the Governments commitment to meet targets to cut CO2 emissions, Somerset businesses know that it can no longer be business as usual and that change is necessary. Change means there are opportunities opportunities to develop new skills in the workforce and opportunities to build new markets and to secure competitive advantage.

Delegates heard a range of viewpoints, from those grappling with national policy decisions, such as Senior Civil Servant Hergen Haye from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), who provided a national perspective on renewable energy, to those involved in the practical application of new technologies.

Commenting on the renewable energy sector in the UK and how Somerset can take advantage of the opportunities available, Haye said, The Governments vision is that whilst we are in a multinational market place, we should always try to ensure there are jobs and business opportunities for local people and businesses. Together we can change the perception that new build programmes rely on labour from overseas. We have the opportunity to strengthen workforces and business opportunities in Somerset, whether it is in the construction, engineering or hospitality and transport sectors. The framework is there and the instruments are available to support and to finance the project. The question is, will Somerset businesses rise to the challenge, take the opportunity and make it happen?

Other keynote speakers included Interim-Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, Jeremy Filmer-Bennett, who presented details about what the new partnership means to the area, and representatives from key low carbon linked organisations such as EDF Energy, Environmental Technologies iNET and Viridor.

Discussing the proposed new nuclear build at Hinkley Point and the benefits it offers to Somerset, Alan Cummings, Procurement Director for EDF, said, At its height, Hinkley C will have 5,600 people working onsite, with a labour market that is well rewarded and able to spend money in the local economy. We have already engaged with the local councils, the Chamber of Commerce and Into Somerset, which has resulted in 47 local companies already committed to the new build, 800 people registered on the supply chain and we have visited 76 local companies to date. Over 90 per cent of the contracts will be given to local businesses, injecting 100m into Somersets economy.

The Conference is an annual event, organised jointly by inward investment body Into Somerset and the Somerset Chamber of Commerce. The presentation slides from the event are available to download from the Into Somerset website at http://www.into-somerset.co.uk/, so business people who were unable to attend the Conference can find out more about the energy and environmental technology opportunities that Somerset has to offer.

For more information about the many varied opportunities that Somerset can offer, or for advice and guidance on setting up a business in Somerset, call on 0845 1222 066 or visit http://www.intosomerset.co.uk/.

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