The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Trader’s (SMMT) eleventh annual sustainability report today reveals that UK manufacturing has made significant progress in cutting CO2 emissions, waste and energy use despite the challenges of the recent economic crisis.
While the 30% drop in vehicle production halted the per vehicle reduction, total energy use and CO2 emissions continued to fall in 2009 down 20% with average new car emissions falling to their lowest ever level of 149.5g/km, down 21.2% over the past 10 years.
The report, which highlights progress in social, environmental and economic sectors of the motor industry through 2009, will demonstrate that despite challenging economic conditions, last year, automotive accounted for £23.8 billion of the UK’s total export values and still employs over 700,000 people.
“The motor industry demonstrated its strength and resilience through the economic crisis and now has a major role to play in a rebalanced economy. The recent string of global investments in the UK-based development and production of low carbon technologies are indicative of the longer-term strength of the sector,” said SMMT chief executive, Paul Everitt. “Tomorrow’s Comprehensive Spending Review must support and incentivise private sector investment in R&D, skills and capital equipment to allow industry to fully exploit the global opportunities emerging from the new focus on manufacturing in the UK.”
In particular, the report shows vehicle manufacturers continue to make significant reductions in the environmental impact of their products throughout the whole lifecycle of the vehicle, with 12 times more waste recycled than ending up in landfill and significant development in ELV (End of Life Vehicle) infrastructure to enable 95% recovery in 2015.
Speaking at the parliamentary launch later today, keynote speaker, head of climate change strategy, Geoff Richards, will also outline how the work of the Automotive Council, a strategic partnership between industry and government is delivering progress in the transition towards ultra-low carbon vehicles, creating opportunities for the UK supply base.
The eleventh annual report collected data from signatories representing 94% of vehicle production in the UK. The full report can be downloaded from here.