A cross-sector coalition, which Northern Powergrid is part of, is urging everyone across the North East to come together with the aim of ‘Becoming England’s greenest region’.
The North East England Climate Coalition (NEECCo) is calling upon every individual, household, business, and organisation in the region to sign up and make a pledge to work together, and to help attract significant and sustainable investment, including from government, to build a £1.5 billion portfolio of investable projects.
NEECCo’s aims include agreeing ambitious targets to develop and deliver climate and environmental initiatives to tackle the climate emergency, reverse ecological collapse and deliver a just transition to a new green economy.
Reaching this goal can only be accomplished at scale, and through sectors and organisations working together, so everyone is asked to do their bit, however small.
The coalition* began life in 2019 and includes strategic partners: the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System (ICS), which works in partnership to meet health and care needs, the five North East universities, business organisations such as the North East England Chamber of Commerce, Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and Federation of Small Business (FSB), regional government agency representatives such as the Environment Agency, Natural England and Public Health England, utility companies Northern Powergrid and Northern Gas Networks, voluntary sector organisations including the Tees Valley and North East England Nature Partnerships, Voluntary Organisations’ Network North East (VONNE), Schools North East, the North East Culture Partnership and Youth Focus North East, and trade unions represented by the Trades Union Congress (TUC).
NEECCo has already established planning groups involving more than 50 partners. So far these have focused on agriculture and land use, retrofitting homes, the built environment, waste and consumption, green finance, indicators and community and public engagement.
Each group is working up action plans and project proposals that will form part of NEECCo’s work programme. In addition, sector leaders such as the Integrated Care System, North East Culture Partnership and VONNE are developing their own sectoral plans and strategies.
A draft of the regional plan will be published in July, to be followed by a period of public consultation. The final plan is scheduled to be launched in October ahead of the international conference on climate change, COP26, which is taking place in Glasgow in November.
Chair of NEECCo Sir Paul Ennals said: “The North East has a unique history. It was the birthplace of the industrial revolution and of innovations such as steam engines, deep pit mining, electric turbines, and coal-fired power stations. These world-leading developments built the historic wealth of the region through coal, and it places a responsibility on our region to be at the forefront of the next industrial revolution – one based on a green economy with good jobs, better quality of life and enhanced natural assets for everyone to enjoy.
“We call upon everyone in the North East to do their bit so that we can move closer towards ‘Becoming England’s Greenest Region, so everyone benefits from greener neighbourhoods, improved air quality, more efficient homes, increased job opportunities and a better quality of life.”
Jim Cardwell, Northern Powergrid’s Head of Policy Development and a NEECCo steering group member, said: “Decarbonising our economy and responding to the climate emergency requires significant action and collaboration across our region. NEECCo provides an important opportunity for local leaders together to support a just transition to net zero and promote the importance of climate resilience.
“Enabling the communities we to serve to be key players in the push to net zero is key. Northern Powergrid is responsible for the electricity distribution network that powers the North East of England. As such, we have a significant role to play in supporting any of the potential transitions to clean energy systems that enable the growth of low carbon technology like electric cars and heat pump.
“I look forward to working with NEECCo and its partners to drive forward the region’s plans to tackle the climate crisis and achieve net zero together.”
To support NEECCo and make your pledge visit neecco.org.uk.
*Due to local government elections on May 6, local government or Local Enterprise Partnerships are not allowed to make any policy announcements until after the election. Therefore, NEECCo is not including any information on any of the local authorities, combined authorities or LEPs who may or may not be part of NEECCo.