rory sets out vision for cumbria as a hub for business and the environment
Rory laid out his vision for Cumbria as a global centre for outdoor, landscape, and energy projects in a meeting he chaired between local green businesses, social enterprise groups, representatives from Cumbria County Council and Cumbria Rural Enterprise Agency.
Rory has already played a central role in a national pilot project which is looking to make Wigton the first ‘smart-grid market town’ in the UK. The idea is to use technology to lower fuel bills and use electricity more efficiently, by installing smart-grid meters in homes and businesses. At this most recent meeting, Rory sought to use Wigton as a focal point upon which to discuss other green initiatives, such as solar, micro-hydro and even geothermal technologies, to encourage a more holistic strategy to Cumbria’s energy production and consumption. Rory suggested that greater collaboration between all parties could quickly foster the idea that Cumbria could be a hub for energy projects, and sought to identify ways in which this could tie into wider issues of sustainable tourism, business and the Cumbrian landscape.
Speaking afterwards, Rory said:
“It does not require an extraordinary leap of faith to envisage Cumbria as a hub for green business and green investment. It’s no secret that I think wind-turbines are an inappropriate technology here because of their impact on landscape and tourism – our largest income earner. But we can focus on other great environmental alternatives. Manufacturing already comprises 23% of Cumbria’s economy. We are well connected through the M6 corridor and West Coast mainline. And – much in the way Switzerland has successfully done – our stunning landscape and clean air instinctively instils within people the idea that this is a great place for green business.
This afternoon I had the pleasure of taking part in a local electric bike tour, and I feel this acts as a perfect example of how outdoor, landscape, and energy projects can interconnect within Cumbria. Tourism remains the most significant part of our local economy, but I still don’t think we do enough to attract sustainable businesses and energy projects to link in and take advantage of this.
Today is the first of many discussions I hope which will look to focus and sharpen local attention on the green industry, and create more ways in which to incentivise and encourage green and sustainable businesses to invest in Cumbria.”