Bdaily North East by Mark Adair

For the past two days national pro-growth campaign group Britain Remade has been in Teesside to find out how the region is capitalising on the move to net zero and how more clean energy infrastructure could deliver growth and create highly skilled, well-paid jobs.

The team discussed several issues with Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, including the major clean energy projects that are being built at the Teesworks site in Redcar. Following the meeting, which also included a discussion on the mayor’s transport priorities, they visited the site to see for themselves how the former Redcar steelworks is being transformed into a home for clean energy and net zero companies.

The campaign group also held a roundtable with the North East Chamber of Commerce to hear from business leaders about the barriers holding back growth in the region. Britain Remade this week launched a petition calling on the Government to drop England’s ban on new onshore wind.

Following a backbench rebellion by Conservative MPs last year, spearheaded by Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland MP Simon Clarke, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was forced to announce a consultation on removing the 2015 ban on new onshore wind farms.

A recent poll commissioned by Britain Remade found the North East was the most supportive region in the country for more local onshore wind. The poll, conducted by Opinium, found that 78 per cent of North East residents would support more onshore wind in their local area, compared to a national average of 67 per cent.

More than 50 per cent of North East residents believed more clean energy infrastructure would create new jobs in the local area (53 per cent) and benefit the local economy (52 per cent). The North East also comes out on top for being the most supportive of more local offshore wind (90 per cent) and installing more solar panels on homes (91 per cent).

Sam Richards, founder and CEO of Britain Remade, said: “Our polling shows there is strong support for onshore wind across Britain, and nowhere more so than in Teesside and the North East. Over the last few years Teesside has secured some fantastic clean energy and net zero investments and is already reaping the reward in terms of new jobs.

“We are calling on local people, politicians and business leaders to back our petition and demonstrate to Government that Britain wants an end to the ban on new onshore wind turbines so people across the country can benefit from the cheapest form of energy.”

Britain Remade is a new pro-growth campaign fighting to remove the barriers blocking more clean energy infrastructure, which has the potential to create significant economic growth, jobs, and prosperity, especially in the North-East.

Ben Houchen, mayor of Tees Valley, said: “Thanks to our world-class skills in engineering, chemicals and processing Teesside has found itself at the forefront of the drive for net zero.

“Building on our proud industrial heritage we’ve been able to secure huge investments in offshore wind, carbon capture and hydrogen world leading projects that are creating thousands of good-quality well-paid jobs for people right across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.