Make the Northern Powerhouse engine 'green'

A new report has claimed that there needs to be continual support for the north’s low carbon economy, to increase economic activity in the region.

‘Setting the pace: Northern England’s low carbon economy’ explores how low carbon investment is already creating jobs and developing supply chains, generating clean energy, protecting infrastructure and supporting skills development and innovation in the region.

Published by the Aldersgate Group, the report features a range of low carbon projects across the north, including a cluster of low carbon investment in Hull from Siemens, Associated British Ports and DONG Energy, shared emission reduction infrastructure creating a low emission industrial zone in the Tees Valley, and peatland restoration by Yorkshire Water in the Pennines.

With much of the governmental focus on the Northern Powerhouse being targeted at transport and city growth deals, through devolution plans, the Aldersgate Group believes that supporting the continued growth of the green economy also has a key role to play.

Placing a green emphasis on the engine of the Northern Powerhouse could help see the UK’s climate targets delivered on time and on budget, with a sufficiently detailed emission reduction plan that can drive greater private sector investment in low carbon technologies such as offshore wind and low emission vehicles.

The report also calls for a new Carbon Capture and Storage strategy, to support roll out at a commercial scale, building on the learnings already acquired from the previous commercialisation programme, and strengthened regional collaboration, in areas such as transport and digital infrastructure.

Improvements to the condition of natural resources would also ensure that local and national government better account for the importance of the natural environment in supporting economic activity and protecting businesses and communities from risks to infrastructure such as flooding and supporting the tourist industry.

Joan Walley, Chair of the Aldersgate Group, said: “We’ve seen from the great case studies in this report that the low carbon economy is supporting economic growth in the North of England as well as helping deliver the UK’s climate change targets. Both national government and devolved local authorities should build on these successes and continue to champion investment into low carbon infrastructure in the North so that it can continue setting the pace.”