Charitable trust and independent think tank, the Green Alliance is to launch a new tech task force in a bid to tackle the UK’s north-south divide though the wider use of smart technologies that boost business resource efficiency and improve economic prospects in manufacturing regions.

The Task Force will bring together businesses committed to smart clean growth with the aim of accelerating the adoption of technologies which can help firms increase their profits while reducing their environmental impact.

Its members include government-backed agency Innovate UK, French multinational Schneider Electric, design and engineering consultancy Ramboll, automation industry body GAMBICA, and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult.

The Tech Task Force’s core mission is to address the regional productivity gap in the UK and has the backing of energy and clean growth minister Claire Perry MP, who is set to officially unveil the initiative at a launch event later today.

Angela Francis, chief economist at Green Alliance, said smart technology could play a key role in delivering clean growth and bringing business costs down, but that present limited uptake of such technologies was preventing UK businesses from realising these opportunities.

The think tank hopes the Task Force can “fill the policy vacuum” in Westminster where ministers “have their hands full with Brexit”.

“To get politicians’ attention we have to show them how this can benefit blue collar workers in the midlands and the north of England, who have told them in no uncertain terms the economy isn’t delivering for them,” Francis explained.

Chris Fry, director of infrastructure and regeneration at Ramboll, said digital technologies were key to creating more liveable towns and cities as part of a sustainable future.

“The UK is a fantastic place to make this work, with centuries of ingenuity designing buildings and infrastructure, and the curiosity to work with the best new ideas from around the world,” he said. “Digital design technologies coupled with offsite construction is a great example of how to reduce carbon and waste whilst creating safer and higher skilled jobs in new high-tech factories across the UK.”

A renewable energy league table, published in 2016 revealed that Cornwall and East Riding are the top counties in England and Wales for installed solar and wind power respectively. The league table, produced by the think tank Green Alliance, revealed a strong north-south pattern, with northern England performing better on onshore wind capacity and the south doing better on solar.

Onshore wind is now cheaper than new gas plants, and solar costs have also fallen dramatically in recent years. Renewables are now core to the UK’s electricity system, providing a quarter of the country’s power in 2015.  Renewable energy is popular with people in the UK according to official government statistics which show 78% of the public support the use of renewables, with only 4% against.

Top 10 solar counties

  1. Cornwall
  2. Devon
  3. Wiltshire
  4. Cambridgeshire
  5. Kent
  6. Norfolk
  7. Oxfordshire
  8. ​Hampshire
  9. Somerset
  10. Dorset
Top 10 onshore wind counties

  1. East Riding of Yorkshire
  2. Lincolnshire
  3. Cambridgeshire
  4. Lancashire
  5. Dyfed
  6. Northumberland
  7. Mid Glamorgan
  8. Durham
  9. Cumbria
  10. Powys