What is the demand for a Green Industrial revolution in the North?
In November the government announced a 10-point green industrial revolution plan for the UK that is designed to drive the country’s green future and integrate a more eco-friendly approach. Despite the fact that it was the original industrial revolution that triggered the environmental catastrophe the world now faces – which made the title of the project an odd choice – it is hoped that from this idea will come the UK’s ability to be at the forefront of the drive towards net zero carbon. Once the plan was announced calls came from across the country and the business community for the government to look at the opportunities in the North of England that could help to bring this key plan to life.
The green industrial revolution in the North
There are a number of schemes that could help to make the North of England an effective driving force in the green industrial revolution in the UK. These include N8 and Northern Powerhouse Partnership’s Net Zero North (NzN), which will unify the Northern Powerhouse’s science and research resources, skills providers and businesses to help create a green-focused recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic that also helps the UK move towards net zero carbon targets. Projects within NzN, such as Grow Smarter and Sustainable Hydrogen Economy, have the potential to create green economy jobs and help to give people working in challenged areas the opportunity to upskill and adapt to current challenges. Eden Project North is another important part of this vision – it is intended that this project will become a destination for people from all over the UK, bringing significant economic and environmental benefits to Lancashire. It will be run by the same team behind Eden Project Cornwall, which has generated more than £2 billion for the economy in the south west. Apart from anything else the Eden Project North forecasts that it will attract more than a million visitors every year and employ 400 people.
When the new green agenda was announced by the government it was also made clear that this would be part of a toolkit being used to drive a levelling up agenda between the economies of the North and the South of England. This has created a lot of hope that the green industrial revolution will bring the expansion and growth that the North so desperately needs. The North of England has suffered badly during the pandemic and even before that was struggling in comparison to many locations in the South. Projects that take into account the vast natural resources in the north of the country as well as the availability of willing workforces could not only be transformative for the region but have a key role to play in the government’s green agenda too. Investment in innovation and skills targeting sectors such as sustainable technologies could make a big difference to the way the North recovers and the net zero carbon progress that the UK makes.
There is huge demand for the green industrial revolution to take advantage of the opportunities that exist to make it happen in the North.