Nepic says financial support will boost North-East low carbon economy

The Advertiser Series: Delegates pictured at the Nepic meeting Delegates pictured at the Nepic meeting

THE North-East low carbon industry will continue to flourish and create new jobs, but only if financial support is increased to help companies deliver projects, business leaders have said.

The North-East Process Industry Cluster (Nepic) says while the region has seen £1.5bn investments in fuel, heat, electricity and waste separation work in the last ten years, more needs to be done to keep the sector growing.

Bosses say the low-carbon investment portfolio stands at £4.7bn and could generate more than 6,000 direct and supply chain jobs.

Nepic held a meeting, attended by North-East MPs, including Ian Swales, Iain Wright, Alex Cunningham and Andy McDonald, and senior industrialists, to outline its plans to see further investment and drive forward the low carbon economy.

John Brady, who heads Nepic's bioresources and renewables Division (NEBR), said changes needed to be made to access to finance and policies.

He said: “The North East region has delivered a number of low carbon projects, and the next critical step is to turn the significant potential we have in the region to reality through a range of technologies such as gasification, pyrolysis and carbon capture and storage (CCS).

“However, in order to deliver some of this potential, we must address issues surrounding the provision of feedstocks, access to finance and a stable, consistent policy regime.

Neil Kenley, director of business development at local enterprise partnership Tees Valley Unlimited, said CCS was an important factor in helping Teesside's industry grow.

He said: “Industrial CCS is an available technology which can significantly reduce carbon emissions and help decarbonise supply chains across the UK.

“In respect of Teesside, it will help attract additional investment as one of only a few global locations where companies can access the necessary infrastructure”.

Dr Stan Higgins, Nepic chief executive, said the region's industry needed the support of its MPs.

He said: “It's part of our growth strategy to act as voice for the process sector and our MPs have a vital role to play in our efforts to grow and rejuvenate the sector in the North-East.

“We need their overt support as this is observable on the international stage, and secondly, we need them to understand the impact of current and future regulation.

“However, perhaps most importantly, we need our MPs to help us to create a level playing field in terms of the regulatory and taxation burden and energy pricing with other European locations.

“These are hugely important issues, and if we have the courage and tenacity to address them, I believe we have the innovative and productive business ideas that would make the UK the powerhouse of manufacturing that it once was.”

The low carbon economy will be debated at the Nepic Parliamentary Dinner on Wednesday, December 4 at Westminster.

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