Ambitious plans to reduce water use by more than a third and create a zero carbon energy system by 2050 are set to be unveiled by Greater Brighton as work to improve regional resilience rolls on.

With sustainable future growth and innovation at the heart of ensuring the City Region remains a vibrant prosperous place to live and work, leaders want to ensure key resources are affordable and available to all.

Under the banner of the Greater Brighton Infrastructure Panel, businesses, government and other organisations have drawn up a list of targets designed to futureproof the area, which stretches from Brighton north to Gatwick.

Those behind the plans say not only will they support economic growth, lead to environmental benefits and reduce the cost of utilities for consumers, but will also put the City Region on the map as a leader in this area.

The next stage is for the proposals to be presented to the Greater Brighton Economic Board with the aim of taking the plans to the next stage of development.

Ian McAulay, Chief Executive of Southern Water

Ian McAulay, Chief Executive at Southern Water and Chairman of the Greater Brighton Infrastructure Panel, said: “Water and energy are resources that are used by everyone, wherever they live and whatever industry they work in.

“For that reason it makes sense for us all to pool our resources and expertise to take a comprehensive look at making sure they remain readily available whatever the future brings.

“The result is an ambitious, achievable and unique set of targets which uses the best of what the City Region has to offer in terms of talent and innovation to really push the boundaries. If we can meet these aims then it will not only put Greater Brighton on the map, but it will also have huge benefits for residents and businesses.

“Now the thinking is over the next stage is for us to work together and act, so that we deliver on this crucial agenda.”

The targets have been worked up by experts from a range of public, private and third sector bodies working in two main areas: water and energy.

Organisations as varied as Southern Water, South East Water, UK Power Networks, the Environment Agency, the universities of Brighton and Sussex and businesses including Ricardo and IBM have been working alongside civil servants at a local and national level have been involved in the work.

The aim has been to create a set of ambitious goals to increase the resilience of infrastructure to meet future growth, regardless of potential stresses, such as population growth, and possible shocks, including extreme weather events.

In terms of energy, the final suggested proposal is to create a “resilient, zero carbon and smart energy system by 2050” in Greater Brighton while reducing household bills and fuel poverty.

A separate water group suggests that the city region adopts a target of reducing average daily water use to 80 litres per person by 2050, down from the current level of about 130 litres.

Pending approval from the board, exact details on achieving these aims will be worked up with smart technology, community finance schemes and educational measures all suggested ways to deliver the aims.

Councillor Garry Wall, Chairman of the Greater Brighton Economic Board, said: “Energy and water are crucial resources which are vital to our thriving City Region. It is only by working together that we can ensure we can create a joined-up approach to meet future demand.

“By acting now we can ensure that communities continue to thrive and prosper. I look forward to discussing these proposals further with my colleagues and driving forward this agenda in the coming months.”

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