City leaders are to unveil initial proposals for growing the UK’s Energy Estuary next month.
The Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) say the new Industrial Strategy for the Humber will map out how the region will build on its position as the centre of the UK’s offshore wind industry, and back industrial sectors around the region to grow and become more productive.
The LEP believes that the Humber can play a leading part in responding to the “Clean Growth” Grand Challenge set by the Government in its Industrial Strategy for the UK – not only in low-carbon energy generation, goods and services, but also in the more efficient use of energy and resources by industry.
With two refineries and strengths in steel, chemicals and process industries, the Humber has one of the largest concentrations of energy-intensive industries in the country.
The LEP will commission a new local energy strategy looking at energy infrastructure and costs for industry, commercial users and residents – including what the area will need to do to support the roll-out of new technology, such as battery storage and electric vehicles.
The LEP has spent the last few months talking to businesses to listen to their views on what the industrial strategy’s priorities should be.
The LEP’s board of business, council and education leaders met on Friday to review the feedback and start to put the plan together.
Initial proposals will be unveiled for consultation at a special event on Thursday, June 7, as part of Humber Business Week.
Industry figures will discuss the key opportunities that have been identified and ask for delegates’ views on their priorities.
Businesses can register for a place at www.humberlep.org/bizweek.
To date, three areas (Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and Oxfordshire) are working with the Government on local industrial strategies.
Once the proposals have been tested with business, the LEP intends to submit a case to the Government in the summer for the Humber to be one of the next in line.
The four Humber local authorities are working closely with business through the LEP to develop the joint plan.
Lord Haskins, chairman of the Humber LEP, said: “The Humber Energy Estuary has become a UK success story over the last few years, after a series of major investments by multinational companies and our homegrown businesses.
“We are now coming from a position of strength, but we cannot be complacent – there are still issues that need resolving to close the gap.
“There are also many new opportunities that businesses have identified in our initial discussions.
“Our job at the LEP is to get behind them and make sure they have what they need to succeed here in the Humber.”
He added: “This new industrial strategy will set out what we can achieve together by collaborating as a region and the small number of things where with Government backing we could do something significant for the UK as a whole.
“This is one of the most important things the LEP has taken on, so the enthusiasm we have had so far from our business community, councils and other partners is very welcome and will be essential for it to succeed.”
The Humber estuary has become “the envy of the world” for offshore wind energy, according to an industry manufacturer.
Ray Thompson, of Siemens Gamesa, told the Offshore Wind Connections conference in Hull last month that “the Humber is seen as the benchmark location for offshore wind – it’s the envy of the world”.
The company makes giant offshore wind turbine blades from its factory in Hull, which it opened two years ago.