UK prospects in the booming global environment market

Worth an estimated $200 billion and projected to grow at a rate of 5.5% per year to the end of the century, the global market for environmental goods and services now stands comparison with industries such as aerospace and chemicals. An OECD review of the sector's prospects has important lessons for the UK, where successive governments have been slow to cotton on to the idea that adverse consequences for the balance of payments are inevitable unless the industry is bolstered by progressive environmental legislation and substantial official funding for research and development.1

Back in the early 1980s, one or two far-sighted souls in the Department of the Environment (DoE) attempted to get their senior colleagues interested in the idea that the pollution control industry was of significance to both the UK's industrial base and its balance of payments. Tighter environmental legislation which encouraged it to innovate and provided it with an export springboard, coupled with export assistance initiatives, would help to

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