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Low carbon economy ‘key’ for the north

A new report has demonstrated the impact of low carbon projects and activity in the north of England, concluding that the green economy should be a priority for the Northern Powerhouse agenda.

A new report has demonstrated the impact of low carbon projects and activity in the north of England, concluding that the green economy should be a priority for the Northern Powerhouse agenda.

The report from the Aldersgate Group of green business leaders makes the case for greater local government support and a clear national industrial strategy to strengthen the low carbon economy in the north.

Low carbon investment has already had a significant impact on regional regeneration in the north, creating over 130,000 skilled jobs, developing local supply chains, encouraging innovation and generating clean energy.

The report also shows that the low carbon economy could deliver greater levels of growth to the region in the future.

Regional successes

Several successes across the north west are highlighted in the report. 

The Liverpool City Region and Greater Manchester are singled out for their efforts to rollout electric vehicle infrastructure across their conurbations, with nearly 400 charging points either planned or in place to date. 

Greater Manchester is also highlighted for the strength of its low carbon and environmental goods and services sector, alongside landmark investments such as its £20 million smart heat project, which has been launched to provide 600 homes with air source heat pumps connected to a smart grid.

A project in Liverpool to boost the amount of recycled aluminium in vehicle manufacture, led by Jaguar Land Rover, is also showcased in the report, along with the Ormonde Offshore Wind Farm in Cumbria.

Brent Cheshire, UK country chairman at DONG Energy, an Aldersgate Group member, said: “We are beginning to see the benefits of sustained investment in renewable energy in the North of England.

“It is not only helping to regenerate communities which have lost their traditional industries, but building a robust supply chain and attracting international manufacturers to locate plants in the UK.”

‘Setting the pace’

The report argues that devolved city mayors, local government and businesses in the north should become “climate champions” to ensure that low carbon opportunities are regularly considered in local decision making and to encourage the building of new low carbon infrastructure.

Joan Wally, chair of the Aldersgate Group, said: “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.”