Plans submitted for decarbonisation of UK’s Humber region

The Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and membership organisation CATCH have submitted a joint proposal with industry for funding to develop a comprehensive plan for decarbonisation in the region.

The Humber Cluster Plan (HCP) will show how the Humber cluster can achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040, potentially making it the first in the world to do so.

A joint bid involving eight private sector partner organisations has been submitted to Innovate UK as part of the government’s Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge Fund scheme, part of the £350 million (€388 million) green recovery package the Prime Minister has announced. The organisations are Drax, British Steel, Equinor, National Grid Ventures, Phillips 66, SSE Thermal, and VPI Immingham.

If successful, the £2.6 million (€2.8 million) project - including £1.65 million (€1.83 million) sought from the government - could help the Humber achieve large-scale decarbonisation, with businesses across the Humber working to find effective and lasting solutions for the region.

According to Humber LEP, the Humber region emits more carbon dioxide than any other industrial cluster – 50% more than the next largest. The area is also one of the most vulnerable to climate change through flood risk. At least a quarter of the local economy and one in 10 jobs depend on these industries, making it “imperative” to safeguard their competitiveness for the economy.

Stephen Parnaby OBE, chair of the Humber LEP, said: “It is imperative that the Humber region decarbonises on a huge scale, but in a way that safeguards our strategically important industries and creates new jobs and business opportunities. Nowhere has greater potential to be at the heart of the green recovery than the Humber.

“The HCP is a significant opportunity to achieve this by creating a clear pathway seeking to position the Humber as a global leader on this agenda. With the support of our partners, we have put forward a compelling proposition to government and I look forward to a successful outcome.”

The HCP follows initial funding from Innovate UK in April, which enabled the first phase of feasibility work on the plan to decarbonise the Humber cluster. This found that the Humber region is likely to need both fuel switching, such as to hydrogen, and carbon capture to achieve the scale of decarbonisation required.

A decision on the bid is expected in the autumn, with the project set to start in January 2021. Separate phase two bids for the first deployment projects are due to be submitted in October.

“The HCP will provide a blueprint for clean growth to drive a green recovery in the Humber, which is vital at this time,” said David Talbot, CEO of CATCH. “Our industries and ports are relying on a clear path to decarbonisation to continue their essential services, remain competitive, and provide employment for local people.

“We know this plan can help the Humber to secure the long-term sustainability of our industries and attract more new green jobs and investment, while ensuring the survival of these long-term standing industries, which are of importance not just to the Humber, but the UK as a whole.”

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