Landmark report calls for region to shape its own future

Barry White

A recent report by the think tank, the  Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) North has called for radical change in decision making powers if the government wants to capitalise on Yorkshire being at the forefront  of the green energy revolution.

The report’s summary points out that:  ‘On net zero, despite the North being home to many of the assets that are needed in order to transition to a greener and more sustainable future, the region remains held back from shaping its own net zero future. This is typified by the fact that while the North generates more than 50 per cent of England’s renewable energy – with Yorkshire and the Humber alone seeing a 4,206 per cent increase in its renewable energy contribution since 2003 – the promise of widespread green jobs seems like a distant prospect in many places.’

It goes on to say that: ‘The north of England faces a significant challenge to reduce its carbon emissions and build a more sustainable future. CO2 emissions are considerably higher in the North when compared to other parts of the UK. This is partly due to the significant concentration of carbon-intensive industry in the region. However, as with other English areas, many emissions come from activities that encompass our day-to-day lives. This includes transport and travel, with many people reliant on car travel and on fossil fuels to heat their homes’.

The report also points out that emissions in our region equate to 6.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide per capita compared to 6 tonnes in the East Midlands, and 5.3 in the North West. London has the lowest reading with 3.2 (Source: Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, ‘UK local authority and regional carbon dioxide emissions national statistics: 2005 to 2019’ (BEIS 2021a)).

Reducing carbon emissions also lead to improved quality of life and ‘there is significant economic opportunity to be gained from developing the North’s green economy. While home to many of the UK’s most carbon-intensive industries, the North also has the potential to lead the transition to a more sustainable economy, creating new green industries’, the report points out.

It continues: ‘This lack of fairness and the need to address it cuts to the core of the government’s levelling up agenda. The green transition in the North will only work if there is a concerted effort to ensure decarbonisation occurs in tandem with improved life outcomes for people across the whole of the North. This will be the only real measure of both the government’s levelling up agenda and of a just transition to a more sustainable and equitable economy in the north of England.’

The IPPR North report ‘State of the North 2021/22 Powering Northern excellence’ highlights the gap between promises and reality on levelling up. It focusses on the impact this is having in three key policy areas: jobs, net zero, and education and skills.

Also reported in the Yorkshire Post 15 January 2022 at:

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