Yorkshire pinpointed as net zero economic hotspot

Tue, 01/31/2023 - 10:06


Yorkshire has been pinpointed as one of the UK’s major hotspots for the net zero economy, vastly outperforming London and the South East, in a new report by CBI Economics for the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit.

Net zero businesses linked to areas such as renewable energy, low-emission vehicles and low-carbon heating now make up £1.68bn of the Yorkshire economy, around 4.7% of its total. This includes nearly 17,500 people in full-time employment in the net zero economy, a total of 3.6% of the county’s jobs. 

Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commissioners today welcomed the news as these statistics put Leeds and Yorkshire eighth in the list of UK areas, while the figures for South Yorkshire - combined with North Derbyshire in this report - are even more impressive. It ranks fourth in the country, with net zero businesses in constituencies such as Rother Valley amounting to £1.25bn, which is 5.9% of the area’s economy. The net zero economy in the Humber, meanwhile, is worth over £500m (4.1% of the region’s economy).

These statistics highlight how the net zero economy is stronger and more productive in regions such as Yorkshire and Humber when compared to London and the South East, with private investment playing an active part in “levelling up”.

Jobs provided by the net zero economy are also better paid, with the average wage - £42,500 - well above the £33,400 national average.

Bill Adams, co-chair of the Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission’s Future Economy panel and regional secretary of the TUC in Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “It is no surprise that the region is getting on with working towards the net zero economy and supporting the development of new businesses and new jobs in the process.

“The Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission brings together regional politicians, business leaders, trade unions, community groups and others to promote and encourage investment in training and skills and new technologies to ensure that as we move towards net zero we create good jobs across the whole region and make sure no-one and nowhere gets left behind.”

Across Yorkshire, the Leeds East constituency stands out relative to the size of its economy, and has high business activity in renewable energy. In South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire, meanwhile, the renewables sub-sector has a significant presence within the net zero economy. 

In Humberside, Humber Zero is an ambitious plan to decarbonise the Humber Industrial Cluster by 2040 – currently the largest CO2 emitting cluster in the UK – to become the world’s first net zero industrial cluster. This includes scaling offshore wind farms and the development of new technologies such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) and green hydrogen. The Humber is an area of high net zero activity, and renewable energy in particular. The area of Cleethorpes stands out as a particular area of high activity.

'Thriving green industry'

Alexander Stafford, MP for Rother Valley, said: “My Rother Valley constituency is at the centre of a net zero economic hotspot across South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire which is worth £1.2 billion to the local economies. The net zero transition presents a great opportunity for growth, with well paid jobs and thriving green industry.”

Meanwhile, local businesses welcomed the report, which they said showed the huge opportunities available to Yorkshire and Humber and urged politicians to get behind investment in the net zero economy.

Jim Erskine, head of commercial at Magtec, a leading manufacturer of drive trains for electric vehicles based in Rotherham, said: “The Yorkshire and Humber region has always been at the forefront of technical evolution and now is no exception. Magtec has been leading the charge to change how we all power our vehicles and especially HGVs and buses as they are responsible for high levels of pollution. With the majority of our supply chain in the region and most of our employees living close, Magtec is not only creating highly skilled jobs itself, more than 50 since moving to its new facility in 2021, but throughout the community.”

Peter Chalkley, Director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, said: “From insulation fitters to heat pump engineers and agritech pioneers, businesses in the net zero economy are adding £70 billion to the UK economy. Billions of pounds of private sector investments are being made in net zero with the hot spots of activity being outside of London in places like Tyneside, Merseyside and Derbyshire.

“The net zero economy is addressing levelling-up and the UK’s productivity problem, but with the EU and US investing heavily in clean technologies, the question now is will the UK keep up or try to stick with industries of the past?”