A share of £8 million in government funding will be invested in developing a comprehensive cluster plan by Net Zero North West ‘to prepare North Wales for a net zero future’. The project could remove over 40 million tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere every year and create thousands of new jobs. The funding comes from the government’s £170 million Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge to support industrially intensive areas in establishing low carbon and net zero clusters.

The industry-led group – which includes business, regional leaders and universities – has received UK Research and Innovation funding for the second phase of its work to become the UK’s first low carbon industrial cluster by 2030 and world’s first net zero industrial cluster by 2040.

The Cluster Plan is intended to provide a deliverable investment, technology and infrastructure blueprint to support the region’s net zero transition and speed up its low carbon recovery post-COVID-19. The region has the highest concentration of advanced manufacturing and chemicals production sites in the UK and the region is bringing forward a range of clean growth projects which will help the UK meet its legally binding net zero carbon emission targets.

It is estimated that the projects – which include the hydrogen and carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) scheme HyNet North West, the Mersey Tidal scheme, a £500m smart energy grid at Ellesmere Port, and the UK’s first waste plastic to hydrogen facility at Protos in Cheshire – could create at least 33 000 new jobs, and unlock £4 billion investment.

Carl Ennis, Chairman, Net Zero North West commented: “Across renewables, hydrogen, CCUS, nuclear and smart grids, our region is in a truly unique position to become a world-leader in clean growth. With the prime minister recently laying out his ten-point plan for a green industrial revolution, this new roadmap funding is a timely vote of confidence in our ability to deliver industrial decarbonisation in the North West [of Wales] and make a significant and rapid contribution to the UK’s net zero emission targets.”