By John Fox-Clinch
Bristol faces a tough challenge in its attempt to become the base for the Government’s planned £3bn Green Investment Bank, with Manchester becoming the latest city to enter the bidding process.
Greater Manchester’s public sector leaders are expected to formally submit a bid later this week – pitching the city against existing interested parties Bristol, Edinburgh and London.
Bristol is making a strong play of its existing ‘green’ credentials – it is already home to a thriving low-carbon technology and environmental sector – as well its financial services prowess.
But it faces a strong challenge from Edinburgh, which can also claim a strong finance base alongside Scotland’s burgeoning alternative energy industry.
The Green Investment Bank will be tasked in unlocking the potential of the UK’s green sector, including major infrastructure projects.
The bank will inject £15bn into the green economy over four years, according to ministers.
Earlier this year, councillors in Bristol welcomed the possibility of a new Green Investment Bank being opened in the city, after a government minister declared Bristol was a “strong contender” to host it.
Environment secretary Chris Huhne said in March: “Clearly, it needs to be based somewhere with good connections with the financial services industry and a strong reputation for environmental innovation and the development of low-carbon technologies. Bristol would obviously be a strong contender.”
The city council’s assistant executive member for sustainability, Neil Harrison, welcomed the statement.
“We and partners such as the Green Capital Momentum Group and Low Carbon Southwest have been lobbying for the Green Investment Bank to come to Bristol.
“Playing host to the Green Investment Bank would bring a significant number of new jobs to Bristol, provide a source of finance for innovative projects on our doorstep and cement our place at the heart of the UK’s efforts on climate change and energy security.”