Cheshire West and Chester Council welcomes huge investment in the region

17 March 2021

The Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council has today (Wednesday, 17 March) welcomed news of a £72m decarbonisation funding boost to create thousands of new jobs and place the borough at the centre of the country’s green industrial revolution.

The HyNet North West hydrogen and carbon capture storage project has secured funding from the government and from the project's consortium, to help transform the North West region into the world’s first low carbon industrial cluster.

The funding will also support Cheshire West and Chester’s aim to achieve ‘net zero’ greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.

West Cheshire forms a central element of the North West Industrial Cluster, which contains the largest concentration of advanced manufacturing and chemical production in the UK.

Under the plans, HyNet North West will begin to transform natural gas into low carbon hydrogen at the Essar Stanlow by 2025. This clean energy source will be piped across the region to power industry, provide fuel for public transport and commercial vehicles, generate electricity and heat homes.

The project is a collaboration between locally-based partners Progressive Energy, Cadent, CF Fertilisers, Eni UK, Essar, Hanson, INOVYN (part of the INEOS Group) and the University of Chester.

By 2030 HyNet North West will have cut carbon dioxide emissions by up to 10 million tonnes a year. The project should create more than 6,000 new jobs and protect many existing manufacturing jobs in the region. In total, HyNet North West will help to support 75,000 jobs across the country by 2035.

Cheshire West and Chester Council has shown a strong commitment to protecting the environment. In 2019 the council declared a Climate Emergency, recognising the need to act in line with world-wide agreement on climate change and agreeing to play a leading role on the issue. Since then the Council has been working with partners, climate experts, local groups and businesses to understand the challenges and opportunities presented by the Climate Change agenda.

Part of the Council’s response includes the Carbon Management Plan, which sets out how it will reduce emissions across Council services overthe next 10 years to be carbon neutral by 2030.

Today’s funding announcement comes hot on the heels of news that the Council has secured £5.8m from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme.

The scheme provides grant funding for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation measures across the public sector, targeting non-domestic buildings in England, as well as supporting green investment initiatives.

In welcoming the HyNet funding announcement, Council leader, Cllr Louise Gittins, said: “Cheshire West and Chester has an ambition to be at the heart of the UK’s leading decarbonisation cluster, and export skills and knowledge nationally and internationally to support global action on climate change. It has a unique collection of natural assets and technical expertise to make that a reality. The HyNet North West project is comprehensively supported by regional leaders as a means to address carbon emissions, which are among the highest in the country. This exciting and world-leading project is essential for retaining our economically vital industry which employs over 340,000 highly skilled people in our region, the most of any part of the UK. At the same time, it will create thousands of new green jobs here and across the country.”

David Parkin, Director of Progressive Energy and HyNetNW Project Director said: “We know we cannot reach net zero without decarbonising industry. HyNet North West is a game-changing project of strategic importance. It is uniquely developed to be low-cost and deliverable and will begin decarbonising the north west by 2025.

“Through the production of low carbon hydrogen and the capturing, and storing, of carbon dioxide, it offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create real change in how we produce and use our energy, establishing a cleaner world for future generations. It will unlock a low carbon future economy in North West England and North Wales, not only reducing emissions but also creating and safeguarding jobs. We are pleased to be working with Government on making the Green Industrial Revolution a reality.”

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