The Humber area can become an area of “global recognition” and a “centre of excellence” in the global fight against climate change.
Former deputy Prime Minister Lord Prescott said the region was now coming together with “one message, one voice” and had the opportunity to be at the forefront of change that the whole world had to make.
And Marketing Humber Managing Director Dr Diana Taylor said that the region was set to create a London Humber Ambassadors Club, made of senior politicians, civil servants and industry leaders, who will provide the heavyweight influence to make the vision a reality.
The remarks were made at the launch of a new, long-term campaign launched by Marketing Humber and the University of Hull, called The Waterline.
Aimed at promoting new economic models that demonstrate how decarbonisation can deliver both environmental sustainability and economic growth in the region, the campaign was launched at a Marketing Humber Annual Bondholder Ambassador Event attended by member businesses and organisations who all have a “bond”, or stake, in promoting the region on the national and international stage.
Lord Prescott is now an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Hull, which is engaged in world-leading research into global environmental issues.
In the Humber we have the chance to show we have a new economic and environmental model to deal with global climate change. The Humber can be a centre of excellence.Lord Prescott
He told more than 200 business leaders at Hull Minster the Humber was a “corridor of growth” and in prime position to power “a new industrial revolution”.
He said: “In the Humber we have the chance to show we have a new economic and environmental model to deal with global climate change. The Humber can be a centre of excellence.”
He added: “We need to put the vision together, in a more integrated way than we have done before.
“We have the assets and advantages, the skills and the attitude. We need to turn them into investment and plans. We have the chance to develop an exciting new model. This is our future. It’s leading the world. The world needs the Humber to show you can create a low-carbon economy.”
The former Deputy Prime Minister was one of the architects of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 that first committed nations around the world to cut greenhouse gases.
Dr Taylor told the event The Waterline campaign built on the success of branding the Humber as the UK’s Energy Estuary and “takes us to a new level of opportunity for global recognition”.
She said the Bondholder ambassadors had a vital role and urged the region’s businesses to play their full part in making the Humber globally relevant.
She said: “Other regions have London and international offices and this is a first and important step on our journey to position the Humber at the heart of some of these influential networks.”
The event also featured a presentation by video by Professor Dan Parsons, Director of the Energy and Environment institute at the University of Hull and an international expert in flooding and flood risk.
Professor Parsons, who is currently working on climate change research in Vietnam, warned the world was experiencing “untold catastrophes” caused by global warming, with 16 of the past 17 years having been the warmest across the world since records began.
But he said the Humber estuary was a “corridor of green economic growth” and well placed to address the challenges of climate change.
Lee Pitcher, head of resilience at Yorkshire Water, said that in the UK, only the Thames Estuary was more at risk from flooding than the Humber.
Six businesses and organisations already signed up to play a key role as principal partners: Hull-based healthcare provider City Health Care Partnership (CHCP), Humber-wide port operator Associated British Ports (ABP), Phillips 66, owner of the Humber Refinery in Immingham, The University of Hull, Yorkshire Water and Grimsby-based Young’s Seafood.
Marketing Humber has also enlisted a series of Major Partners committed to the new vision and strategy. These include Hull-based Andrew Jackson Solicitors, Bishop Burton College and Jelf insurance brokers.