Four of the Capital West London boroughs have declared a climate emergency, as sustainability and the environment is climbing ever higher on the political agenda. During an afternoon break-out session at the Capital West London Growth Summit that focussed on digital futures and sustainability, the size of the audience played testament to the importance of this topic.
Entrepreneurialism and innovation, following through from an earlier panel, was key to the debate. Panellists promoted the need for West London, along with the rest of London and the country, to change and innovate in order to cope with increasing pollution and an ever-growing population.
Opening the session, Professor Richard Templer from Imperial College said: “The greatest thing we will face in our lifetime is to manage the outfall of climate change.” He thought that digital technology would play a key role in this, but that it was not the only potential solution.
Gergana Nash of Grain Connect also linked these themes with a need for an entrepreneurial attitude. She said: “Sustainability boils down to innovation, and crisis response spurs innovation”. She felt it was important to give companies and individuals the opportunity to test and fail – to encourage entrepreneurial ideas, digital progression and new solutions. She added: “In the next ten years London will be home to just over 10million people. We need to adapt”.
In West London there is a focus on improving connectivity to enable innovation and growth – two of the three Strategic Investment Pool (SIP) bids by the West London Alliance have been successful, bringing £11.1m of GLA funding to the sub-region to deliver better broadband and skills and employment up-scaling. Also, residents and businesses across Brent will be able to enjoy some of the fastest broadband speeds in Britain, aiming to deliver up to 1 gigabit per second broadband by 2020 as the Council has approved the roll out of full-fibre broadband to an estimated 14,500 council homes, other homes, and a number of businesses in the borough.
Matt Coulson, CEO of Chiswick Park Enjoy-Work, is responsible for leading and developing the business strategy for the 1.8 million sq ft office development in Hounslow. Telling the audience about the focus on digital connectivity and sustainability on the Park he explained the emphasis placed on needing to not have ‘blackouts’ in the internet connection for tenants.
Chiswick Park has been working with Wired Score on rating and improving their digital status. Wired Score rate buildings for their digital connectivity, and how they support their occupants to create and innovate. Hamish Dupree from Wired Score explained the beliefs and reasons behind their company and the problems that many tenants find with unreliable connections, or when moving into new offices with delays in broadband connection set up causing lost time and money.