Business letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak

Zero Carbon Humber – Levelling-up the North

9th March 2020


Britain stands on the cusp of decisions that will define our economy and climate for the generations to come.

It’s why we are calling on the Chancellor, Yorkshire MP Rishi Sunak to use his first Budget to commit to investing in the Zero Carbon Humber project which will support business and continue the UK’s journey to leading the world in the fight against climate change and developing clean growth technologies.

Heavy industry remains of critical importance to UK exports. The Humber region remains a bastion of our industrial heritage, that helped forged a nation and spread economic growth well beyond the reaches of the Humber. But this means it is responsible for more carbon emissions than any other industrial cluster in the UK.

The challenge for us all is how to decarbonise our economy and to provide thousands of new well-paid green jobs, whilst revitalising communities across our country that face barriers to growth and success.

Measures like carbon pricing have been critical in bringing about the decline of fossil fuel power generation and the rise of renewables. But it has also generated challenges for many industries which suffer from low margins and volatile energy prices.

The UK’s global competitiveness and standing as one of the world’s largest economies is ultimately at risk if the decline continues.

Carbon capture and storage technology provides the opportunity to save industrial businesses across the Humber £27.5bn in unpaid carbon taxes by 2040, protecting 55,000 existing jobs and opening the door to tens of thousands of new jobs in clean growth industries.

And the opportunities available to the UK, as we leave the EU, to be the world leader in this new technology are limitless.

CCS would allow the Humber to be a world leader in a pioneering clean growth technology, with huge export potential as we throw our doors open to new trading relationships with the rest of the world. British CCS experts, trained on the banks of the Humber, could work around the world, assisting developing nations to set up their own CCS systems as they expand their economies.

Projects like this match the Government’s ambitions both on decarbonisation, and on levelling up regions across the nation. By working alongside the proposed Teesside cluster this opportunity could be maximised further.

New skills. New jobs. New opportunities.

But we are in a race to the finish-line to develop our expertise, with the US, Norway and the Netherlands all striving to develop their own CCS projects at scale. To win this race, we must be prepared to invest in new, ambitious opportunities like Zero Carbon Humber.

This affects everyone in the country, and together we must make plans to find new solutions and opportunities. Businesses, Government, local authorities and citizens. With the right support, we can all be a part of the transition to a new economy.

Yours sincerely,

Frances O’Grady, General Secretary, TUC                       Henri Murison, Director, NPP                      Lord Haskins, Chair, Humber LEP