THE Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership has renewed its commitment to building a zero-carbon future and green economy.

In November SWLEP released its local energy strategy to look at the opportunities in switching to a low-carbon economy, such as lower transport costs with electric vehicles and innovation in technology to reduce energy consumption.

The report committed to making Swindon and Wiltshire a nationally significant leader in hydrogen technology by improving green infrastructure, like hydrogen re-fuelling stations, to make the most of the estimated £1 trillion a year export opportunity in low-carbon technologies.

Chairman Paddy Bradley said: “The Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership is committed to our area being world-renowned for innovation, entrepreneurialism and our great quality of life.

“Through our developing energy strategy, we will play our part in delivering clean growth and build on our area’s strengths to grow the low carbon economy.

"SWLEP is working with innovative businesses such as Recycling Technologies, Johnson Matthey, Good Energy and organisations such as the Hydrogen Hub to support their growth as they play their part in Swindon and Wiltshire making the UK a global leader in the industries of the future.”

Progress has already been made. Swindon and Wiltshire’s carbon emissions fell by 25 per cent between 2005 and 2015 overall and in industry and commerce by almost 40 per cent.

Swindon is also currently the only metropolis outside London with two hydrogen refuelling stations - the first public one at the Honda plant and a new station at Johnson Matthey near Junction 16.

There are also more than 50 organisations in the Swindon area working towards electric and hydrogen vehicles, including business leaders, consultants and Swindon Borough Council, known collectively as the Hydrogen Hub.

Vehicle leasing firm Arval is one. Paul Marchment, the small and medium enterprise manager, said: “There is a mind shift towards ultra-low emission vehicles, so we became involved in this because this is cutting edge technology.

“We’re still a few years away from mass deployment but we need to understand how it works now so that we’re ready for the future when it does take off in a big way."

SWLEP is part of a chain of local voluntary partnerships between local authorities and businesses across the UK set up in 2011 to determine economic priorities in each locality by focusing on areas of economic growth.