Environment Secretary George Eustice visited Depot on 8 July to meet with leaders of local businesses and to discuss Clean Growth UK’s work in SME innovation and creating green economy jobs.

Clean Growth UK is a national business-innovation network led by University of Brighton’s Green Growth Platform. To date the network has attracted 2,000 members from across the UK, including Depot, helping them access university know-how and equipment for a diverse range of innovation and research and development (R&D) needs.

Clean Growth UK has supported businesses to secure over £15m million in research and development funding to develop new green products and services. Their innovation and commercialisation support has helped create or safeguard over 700 new green jobs in diverse areas including zero-emission electric bikes, modelling for flood risks and dealing with waste.

The ministerial visit to Depot arts cinema in Lewes comes on the back of the government’s commitment for the UK to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 78% by 2050 and reach net zero by 2050 and, ahead of the COP26 meeting in Glasgow in November, of driving a green industrial revolution.

Natasha Padbury, Depot’s Green Ambassador, said: “We were delighted to be chosen as the host venue for this visit and to have the opportunity to showcase our green activities. I was pleased to be able to tell the government minister about many of the ways we are putting sustainability at the core of our business. Mr Eustice was particularly interested in our green roof, with its native chalk and Downland species.”

Zoë Osmond, Director for Clean Growth UK, said: “The UK leads the world in climate change legislation and targets and today we discussed the challenges our SMEs face when innovating and growing the clean-green businesses we need for a net zero, nature positive world.

“We now need a set of clear, long-term policies for climate and nature to enable businesses to invest, grow the green economy and turbo-charge the green revolution. This will lead to a welcome growth in skilled green jobs and ensure our COVID recovery is truly green and equitable.”

Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “As we look ahead to COP26, our green industrial revolution and our Plan for Jobs are helping create new green jobs across the whole country.

“It was brilliant to see this in action today at Clean Growth UK and hear how the organisation is both boosting the local economy and supporting the nation’s drive to become net zero by 2050.”