Yorkshire can lead on green industry like London leads on finance says CBI boss Tony Danker

The boss of Britain’s biggest business organisation has said that Yorkshire can be to green industries what the City of London is for financial services.

Tony Danker, director general of the CBI, said the region can be a world-leading centre for excellence on decarbonisation technologies and said that Yorkshire was already at the nation’s forefront when it came to greening the economy.

Mr Danker said what was happening in Yorkshire now on environmentally friendly industry was “an arena for what needs to happen in the world”.

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Yorkshire has historically been one of the country’s most polluting areas, with the area around the Humber generally considered to be the nation’s most carbon emitting epicentres.

Wind turbines at Teesside

However, from carbon capture to green energy production to new and more environmentally friendly means of heating homes, Yorkshire is currently home to a myriad range of industries which could transform the way we do business, use energy and move from place to place.

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“I think what is happening in the region now is the arena for what needs to happen in the world.

“There is a real excitement on our part in the region.

Tony Danker - CBI director general

“If we are going to decarbonise the world and decarbonise Britain, the forefront of that endeavour is currently in Yorkshire and Humber.

“The region has the possibility to be a world class centre for excellence.

“I think we should think about that region on decarbonisation in the same way we think about the City of London for finance - it should be a genuinely world class cluster.”

Mr Danker said his organisation, home to some nearly 200,000 businesses, would be happy to lend its support to realising the potential green industrial might of Yorkshire, going so far as to offer to lobby for political support or provide access to advisory bodies who could foster trade links or supply opportunities.

Wind turbines are being produced in great abundance in Hull.

“I want these projects to be genuinely world class and we at the CBI will put our elbow into making it so,” he said.

Green industry can be seen across the whole county, but the Humber area is arguably the most advanced.

The Siemens Gamesa wind turbine factory in Hull is a world-leading epicentre, producing the blades for turbines across the world.

Siemens recently confirmed it wants to double the capacity of the plant as part of a £186m investment that will create 200 new jobs.

Siemens factory in Hull

In North Yorkshire Drax is advancing plans to develop a carbon capture system which would green the North’s environment and create thousands of jobs in the process.

And from Leeds, Northern Gas Networks has an objective to use hydrogen to heat thousands of homes around Yorkshire and the North East.

The move would do away with the need for fossil fuels and reduce the carbon footprint of the North.

Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said the key to making the region an environmental powerhouse lay in empowering the whole of the North.

He said: “Businesses need clarity that the government will make good on its promises to build a genuine Northern Powerhouse.

“It’s time to double down on R&D, in health innovation across Leeds and Manchester as well as an innovation deal to develop our manufacturing excellence in South Yorkshire. We need the early go ahead for a carbon capture cluster in the Humber and Tees Valley.

Turbines are a growth area for Yorkshire

“Lastly we need to push through ambitious devolution deals for North Yorkshire and Hull with East Yorkshire, unlocking the huge potential of towns such as Goole and Scarborough through investment in skills alongside significantly more powers for our existing Metro Mayors.”