Regional support for Boris Johnson’s Green Industrial Revolution

Offshore wind turbines

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution is receiving support from across the region, despite the fact that it might not benefit as much as some other parts of the UK following the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda.

Covering clean energy, transport, nature and innovative technologies, the Prime Minister’s blueprint will allow the UK to forge ahead with eradicating its contribution to climate change by 2050, particularly crucial in the run up to the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow next year.

The plan will mobilise £12 billion of government investment to create and support up to 250,000 highly-skilled green jobs in the UK, and spur over three times as much private sector investment by 2030.

But it looks like the bulk of the investment will go to UK industrial heartlands outside the region this magazine covers, including in the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, Scotland and Wales, although the West Midlands is named in the areas which the government hopes will drive forward the green industrial revolution.

Karen Boswell OBE, recently appointed Managing Director of Warwick-headquartered Baxi Heating, said: “Future generations will judge us by our actions. Our pledge is to be carbon neutral in all our operations by 2030, and to lead the phase-out of carbon intensive heating by ensuring every product we make from 2025 will work with low carbon energy.”

The company has committed to a portfolio of cleaner, greener products, that will work with low carbon fuels by 2025, either directly such as hydrogen boilers, heat pumps, smart electric water heating and heat networks or hydrogen ready boilers than can be converted after installation.

Dan Storer, Chief Investment Officer at the West Midlands Growth Company, the region’s promotion and economic development agency, added: “The West Midlands – the birthplace of the first industrial revolution – is already recognised at the frontier of green technologies; we are uniquely positioned to advance Government’s 10 Point Plan for a Greener Industrial Revolution and welcome these steps with open arms.

“Anchored by world-leading manufacturers including Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), Aston Martin, Lotus and LEVC, the West Midlands’ long-standing expertise in transport R&D has created a fertile climate for low carbon innovation and commercialisation. From battery and hydrogen fuel cell technology, to energy storage, Very Light Rail and Electric Vehicles; the collaborative mindset of the region’s public, private and academic sectors sets us apart as a pioneer in world-first innovation.

“It is clear from the Government’s 10 Point Plan that the power to unlock a greener, more sustainable and inclusive economy before 2050 lies with the UK’s regions. Harnessing the West Midlands’ expertise in low-carbon technologies across energy, transport and infrastructure is integral to a second wave of industrial revolution – just as integral as our expertise was the first time. In the process, we will support government’s wider levelling up ambitions by working in partnership with key departments, including the new and welcome Office for Investment, to showcase the West Midlands and the UK as a globally competitive destination for investment.

“This preclusive plan gives us a clear steer on how our region can deliver a transition to greener industries; we look forward to receiving more detail from Government on policy provisions in the coming weeks.”

The Prime Minister’s ten points, which are built around the UK’s strengths, are:

  1. Offshore wind: Producing enough offshore wind to power every home, quadrupling how much we produce to 40GW by 2030, supporting up to 60,000 jobs.
  2. Hydrogen: Working with industry aiming to generate 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030 for industry, transport, power and homes, and aiming to develop the first town heated entirely by hydrogen by the end of the decade. (Baxi Heating and BDR Thermea Group are currently developing and testing one of the UK’s first 100% hydrogen boilers. The boiler manufacturer has been working closely with Government to trial hydrogen and other low-carbon heating technologies. To date, Baxi Heating has been involved in the UK’s hydrogen taskforce, Hy4Heat, HyDeploy and USER projects.)
  3. Nuclear: Advancing nuclear as a clean energy source, across large scale nuclear and developing the next generation of small and advanced reactors, which could support 10,000 jobs.
  4. Electric vehicles: Backing our world-leading car manufacturing bases including in the West Midlands, North East and North Wales to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles, and transforming our national infrastructure to better support electric vehicles.
  5. Public transport, cycling and walking: Making cycling and walking more attractive ways to travel and investing in zero-emission public transport of the future.
  6. Jet Zero and greener maritime: Supporting difficult-to-decarbonise industries to become greener through research projects for zero-emission planes and ships.
  7. Homes and public buildings: Making our homes, schools and hospitals greener, warmer and more energy efficient, whilst creating 50,000 jobs by 2030, and a target to install 600,000 heat pumps every year by 2028.
  8. Carbon capture: Becoming a world-leader in technology to capture and store harmful emissions away from the atmosphere, with a target to remove 10MT of carbon dioxide by 2030, equivalent to all emissions of the industrial Humber today.
  9. Nature: Protecting and restoring our natural environment, planting 30,000 hectares of trees every year, whilst creating and retaining thousands of jobs.
  10. Innovation and finance: Developing the cutting-edge technologies needed to reach these new energy ambitions and make the City of London the global centre of green finance.

The Prime Minister said: “Although this year has taken a very different path to the one we expected, I haven’t lost sight of our ambitious plans to level up across the country. My Ten Point Plan will create, support and protect hundreds of thousands of green jobs, whilst making strides towards net zero by 2050.

“Our green industrial revolution will be powered by the wind turbines of Scotland and the North East, propelled by the electric vehicles made in the Midlands and advanced by the latest technologies developed in Wales, so we can look ahead to a more prosperous, greener future.”

Stephen Kelly, Chair of Tech Nation, said: “It’s promising to see a multi-billion pound package of green investment announced by the Government that brings much needed support to clean technologies working towards the net zero goal and builds on the levelling up agenda across Britain. Governments will never be able to act fast enough to fix our planet’s environmental problems alone, with much needed progress from business and consumers. NetZero technology companies are a critical part of the solution, where they need the backing to provide growth capital to create solutions to the greatest challenge of our time and propel the UK NetZero tech sector to multi-billion global market leadership.

“Government investment in net zero companies is crucial while the current VC model means that these investors are not naturally drawn to investments that will take much longer to deliver a return. There must also be a longer-term strategy towards changing how we view company performance that goes beyond profit but takes into account how it’s driving sustainability on the world stage in order to drive continued investment in R&D intensive companies.

“Tech is at the heart of reaching the UK’s net zero goal and driving the new green economy, so the public and private sector must both be working towards fuelling innovation and driving change.”