More than 100 business, community, local authority and education leaders from across the South attended the inaugural Greenprint Conference to contribute their support for the region to become a centre for green skills and create a world class environment and economy.
The ground-breaking collaboration across all sectors was hosted by the University of Southampton and explored the challenges and opportunities for developing green skills in the region, with expert speakers, a panel discussion and workshop sessions.
Delegates were welcomed by Vice President of the University of Southampton, Professor Mark Spearing and Councillor Seán Woodward, Leader of Fareham Borough Council & Chairman of Partnership for South Hampshire.
Councillor Woodward said: "I'm absolutely delighted to have been part of Greenprint from the start. We can only ever achieve Greenprint's aims through collaboration, and I'm pleased to see so many people here today, and online, which show there's a real determination and focus on activity that will benefit our communities.
"I welcome Greenprint's strong emphasis on the value of nature and what it can do for our economy, people's wellbeing, as well as our sense of identity and sense of place."
A presentation of a sustainable solar and wind powered electric car charging point initiative by pupils at Mayfield School, Portsmouth, winners of this year's Fareham College Climate Change Challenge 'Dragons Den' competition, was enthusiastically received.
Alison Barnes, Chair of Greenprint and Chief Executive Officer of the New Forest National Park Authority, said: “This is our opportunity to be at the forefront of international and national agendas on climate, nature, and the green economy, as well as delivering for our own communities.
"We must focus on becoming a centre for excellence in green skills and jobs to enable us to deliver our vision. Greenprint is about collaborating and broadening our conversations to
activate our potential, to galvanise and enthuse partners, organisations and individuals to work together and drive the change.
"We need to build a future workforce which can seize the opportunities offered by innovation in key sectors, including zero carbon economy, land management and the visitor economy.”
David Hutchinson, Innovation and Impact Development Manager, University of Portsmouth, told the conference: “What Greenprint has created is a framework, a way of bringing people together and giving them a focus but not telling them what direction to go in. The aim of this is to create an opportunity that enables us to feel part of something and move things forwards at pace.
"The next step now is all about action. There is a genuine opportunity for our region, with our world class people and innovative organisations to make a real difference both here and further afield. It’s time to mobilise ourselves to actually do something for the future of the Solent.”
Cllr Satvir Kaur, Leader of Southampton City Council, said: “Greenprint is an important opportunity to bring all the right people together to push for change. Southampton has huge ambitions to be a greener and more sustainable City, both socially and economically, bringing in more investment and creating new jobs in our region.”
Change is needed and cities can be leaders or followers, and we should continue to be leaders. It’s vitally important that we take local people with us on this journey. Change is only achievable if we all work together.”
The Greenprint framework reflects the distinctive characteristics of the area – from the coastline and national parks to the urban, suburban and rural communities. It is committed to building sustainable places and climate resilience. Following the successful conference, it will ‘feed forward’ the positive ideas from the event to create real change in the region.
The Greenprint framework is made up of five priorities:
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