Mayor calls on government to bring global green expo to Tees region

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Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen has called on the government to bring a global green exports and investment expo to Teesside in order to help the government hit its ambitious net zero targets and create good-quality jobs for local people.

Writing to both the business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng and international trade secretary Liz Truss, mayor Houchen said meeting the government’s ambitious target for the UK to be a net zero nation by 2050 would “require serious inward investment,” and that “the Tees Valley would be the perfect place for the inaugural event” in September 2022 to support levelling up.

Since 2017, the Tees region has developed an enviable reputation as a centre of excellence when it comes to the development and implementation of clean energy technology.

Net Zero Teesside are developing the world’s first industrial scale Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage facility on the Teesworks site.

Led by BP, the ground-breaking project will create over 5,000 good-quality, well paid jobs and remove 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, the equivalent to the annual energy use of over three million homes.

As well as removing a huge amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere the scheme will safeguard thousands of jobs in the regions chemicals and processing sectors, sectors that are essential to the UK’s wider manufacturing industry.

Local engineers and scientists are also leading the research and development of hydrogen as a fuel source following the news that the UK’s first hydrogen transport hub will be established in Middlesbrough. Work is currently ongoing with the Department for Transport on hydrogen bus and rail pilot projects.

Following the announcement in the Spring Budget that Teesside had secured the UK’s biggest freeport, GE Renewable Energy revealed they would build their first UK factory to manufacture blades for offshore wind turbines on the Teesworks site.

The GE plans will see 2,250 skilled, well paid jobs created and cement the regions reputation as the best place to develop the next-generation of offshore wind technology.

In his letter to the ministers, mayor Houchen said “I would suggest that the conference could happen in September 2022, keeping the momentum going on the government’s interlinked levelling up and green agendas.

“I believe that we can make this a really great and productive event, not just for my region but for the UK and its government, showing the government’s continued focus on its key policy aims whilst paving the way for the major investments that we want to see.”

Houchen added: “From carbon capture, utilisation and storage, to offshore wind and developing hydrogen as a fuel source, Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool are already at the forefront of the governments mission to cut emissions.

“But if we are to meet the ambitious target set by the government for the UK to be a net zero nation by 2050, we must roll out more ground-breaking technologies even faster, and we cannot to this without investment.

“Every day I see a range of projects and ideas in businesses and research centres across Teesside that could play a hugely important role in meeting our emissions reduction and climate change targets, they just need exposure and investment to take them to the next level. Bringing a global green investment expo to Teesside would do just that.

“This means more local jobs and more cutting-edge technology exported from Global Britain around the world.

“The government cannot get to net zero without Teesside’s engineering, chemicals and processing expertise, so there in no better place for the inaugural green investment expo than Teesside.

“So, I look forward to working with Kwasi and Liz to show off what Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool has to offer to international investors.”