The key messages of this report are that:
- Whilst much can be achieved by one organisation acting alone, far more is possible by concerted action through strong partnership arrangements. In particular, project partnerships should be designed so that the participants support each other’s individual goals as well as the overarching goal of the programme with an emphasis on sharing credit, e.g. the Northwest Climate Change Partnership
- A strong, evidence based approach to programme development is essential. This enables a deliberately selective strategic focus, where there is evidence for current market failure or likely future ‘business pull’, prioritisation of what made sense to do at the local, regional and pan-northern scale, and devising action plans to share responsibility with partners
- Sustainable economic development is a long term goal requiring systemic changes. Longevity of funding for initiatives which seek to create innovative change is often crucial to optimise their effectiveness as their understanding increases e.g. the ENWORKS programme
- The setting of challenging but achievable targets and monitoring progress against them was found to be critical to driving change and innovation. Where possible, targets should be agreed with the sector/body that they will effect e.g. the Sustainable Buildings Policy and Carbon Calculator
- Investment in energy and recycling and waste management infrastructure can contribute to increasing the productivity of the North. By developing the associated supply chains, jobs and businesses, opportunities can be created in other sectors, thereby exploiting the North’s manufacturing and technology strengths and beginning to rebalance the economy e.g. Northwest Centre of Excellence for Waste Technologies (Envirolink Northwest’s recycling and waste sector support project)
- The interaction of people, businesses and the environment is complex and can have a profound impact on the planet and our long term economic prospects; we need to manage this interaction for the benefit of all three e.g. Newlands Land Regeneration Programme
The NW Regional Pertners have taken practical steps to address these issues, within a supportive business focused approach. For the region to achieve its aspirations to deliver a sustainable, low carbon economy, this strategic direction will require continual promotion by, and priority attention from, those bodies which are charged with promoting economic growth in the future.
Going forward, support to SMEs is as important as it was ten years ago, perhaps more so in the current economic climate. Further work is required, focused on ways of helping business to innovate in order to avoid the threats of increased pressure on resources.