Brighton & Hove Economic Partnership (BHEP) used their meeting on 4 April at Westergate House to consider some of the key challenges facing the city.
Partnership members heard about Gatwick's role in the local economy and how the water shortage and energy challenge might impact on Brighton & Hove.
Susie Howells, Government and Economic Relations Manager for BAA Gatwick gave a presentation on Gatwick as an economic driver for the South East, “The Future of Air Transport” white paper and the role of airports in climate change. Members raised concerns about the loss of business routes, which could become more acute if a third runway is built at Heathrow, and were encouraged by Susie Howells to engage with BAA to help build a business case for more business routes from Gatwick.
This was followed by a presentation from Christine D'Cruz, Director of Commerce at edf energy who focused on the scale of the energy challenge facing the UK, the impact the growing demand for energy will have and the government’s energy review. Partnership members were told that by 2016 it is projected that we will have a generation gap (the gap between energy generated and engery required) of between 20GW and 32GW (half of our current output) and by 2020 the UK could be importing 90% of its gas supply.
The meeting concluded with a presentation from Meyrick Gough, Water Planning and Strategy Manager at Southern Water who provided a background to the current water shortage. Members heard how the the South East is experiencing the worst drought since 1976 as rainfall has been below average for the last two winters.
Simon Fanshawe, Chair of BHEP, commented that "The scale of these challenges is overwhelming. The Partnership will stimulate debate around these challenges in business and large organisations to encourage them to consider how they might tackle these issues."
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Brighton & Hove Economic Partnership