He knows that jobs and innovation in green tech will help us meet our ambitious targets for reducing carbon emissions, and will level up communities across the Blue Wall, as the country recovers from the pandemic.
Rother Valley my home and constituency, will be at the heart of these plans.
Like the wider region, Rother Valley has a proud steel and coal heritage, and it is this history that sets the foundation for a green future. The ITM Power Gigafactory, sitting on my constituency border, is the world’s largest electrolyser factory and can be a hub and catalyst for new jobs in hydrogen.
I want to build on this to make Rother Valley the UK’s Hydrogen Valley – a place for local, long-term jobs.
The ITM Gigafactory shows how we can invest in and create skilled manufacturing jobs of the future. However, we must not stop there.
I am backing local green steel made in Rotherham, the processing of critical minerals to support new renewable energy through wind turbines, and a revitalised green transport system with the reopening of the South Yorkshire Joint Railway. Green manufacturing jobs and more regular and reliable green transport are at the heart of how we will level up.
Potential green jobs, however, are not just restricted to local manufacturing. Yorkshire and the Humber is blessed with brilliant nature and glorious countryside.
One only has to stroll around the beautiful Rother Valley Country Park or amble through the lush countryside surrounding Roche Abbey near Maltby to appreciate the natural glory of our great county. I believe we can protect and restore our nature and harness it for green jobs too.
The think tank Green Alliance, in partnership with WWF, an organisation for which I used to work, recently found that many new nature-focused jobs can be created across Yorkshire and the Humber, including in the areas with the most acute employment challenges.
Some of these jobs could be in improving local green spaces in the region’s towns and cities, for instance on and around our high streets.
In Rother Valley, I am keen to ‘green’ our high streets, cutting down on congestion and pollution to ensure cleaner air, pedestrianising key areas, converting buses to be run on electric and hydrogen power, installing electric charging points for our cars, and introducing plants, street trees and small pocket parks.
Further such opportunities exist elsewhere in Yorkshire, such as woodland creation around Skipton and coastal restoration at Kilnsea and Sunk Island.
Holding 27 per cent of the UK’s blanket bog, a rich habitat and important store of carbon, Yorkshire can also be at the centre of new jobs in restoring peatland.
Locally, the Yorkshire Peat Partnership is already showing how it is done, leading innovation in remote sensing techniques and supporting highly skilled digital and manufacturing jobs with a growing supply chain.
It shows that our natural capital can offer long term local jobs at a range of skill levels, from more labour-intensive roles to drone operation and data analysis.
Leveraging funding through the Government’s £4.8bn Levelling Up Fund and the Chancellor’s new National Infrastructure Bank could support the creation of new green jobs and draw up the blueprint for a green recovery.
Last month, I sponsored a debate in the House of Commons on the Levelling Up Fund and high streets in Rother Valley, and in the past few months I have also hosted the first ever debates in the UK Parliament on hydrogen and critical minerals respectively.
All of these share the same theme: levelling up locally through green jobs and opportunities. I am committed to making sure Rother Valley, and the Yorkshire region more widely, build back better, invest in the jobs of the future, and kickstart a green industrial revolution.
Alexander Stafford is Conservative MP for Rother Valley.
Support The Yorkshire Post and become a subscriber today. Your subscription will help us to continue to bring quality news to the people of Yorkshire. In return, you’ll see fewer ads on site, get free access to our app and receive exclusive members-only offers. Click here to subscribe.