Sunderland is one of best prepared cities in UK for drive to low carbon

Sunderland is one of the UK’s best-prepared cities to benefit from the drive to zero carbon, says a new report.

Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 5:00 am

Research from the Social Market Foundation has shone fresh light on the local level risks and opportunities associated with the UK’s efforts to reach “net zero” by 2050.

The report ranked local authorities across England, Scotland and Wales by a number of factors, such as proximity to top universities; closeness to green business clusters; proximity to major developments and the population percentage of skilled workers.

Knowsley, just north of Liverpool, finished in top spot, with Sunderland a close second, due to its high proportion of workers in roles that are well positioned for transition, with over one in ten people in the city boasting the transferable skills required to help the UK achieve net zero.

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Patrick Melia, Chief Executive of Sunderland City Council, at the launch of the EV Hub

City council leader Coun Graeme Miller said: “We all have a role to play in helping the UK meet its ambitious goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2040 and we’re delighted to learn all of the work we’ve put in over recent years - to position Sunderland as a leader in green energy - is starting to bear fruit.

“From implementing our own low carbon action plan earlier this year, to working shoulder-to-shoulder with the private sector to attract businesses with a focus on creating highly skilled, green jobs, we’ve built a solid platform on which we can not only help tackle global warming, but also create an eco-system which nurtures sustainable economic growth.

“As we look to a cleaner, greener future, green jobs will play a key role in stimulating economic growth and we’re delighted with the work already being done to ensure Sunderland is best placed to capitalise on and drive this shift.

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Making Sunderland carbon neutral by 2040

Sunderland set out its ambitions to be a carbon neutral city by 2040 earlier this year with the launch of its Low Carbon Framework and a host of people and organisations from across the city have helped shape the agenda.

Sunderland City Council has already taken steps to help the problem head-on, with the submission of a £2.2million funding bid to central Government to develop a project with the potential to harness green energy from old mine workings and heat the city’s buildings.

Investment to the tune of over £1billion from the private sector over the past year has seen ambitious plans come to life for a new electric vehicle (EV) gigafactory led by Envision AESC, closely linked to the recently announced EV Hub - Nissan36Zero; the development of ‘the UK’s greenest tyre recycling plant’ at Port of Sunderland by Norwegian firm Wastefront AS; and the acquisition of local lithium battery manufacturer Hyperdrive Innovation by a Silicon Valley tech firm backed by Bill Gates.

“From Nissan to Hyperdrive and Wastefront, Sunderland’s economy is as buoyant as ever and the buzz around the wider, connected business community is palatable, but we can’t be caught coasting,” Coun Miller added.

“As we look to the future, we must continue working with the public and private sectors – as well as institutions such as the region’s five world-class universities, to ensure we continue building on this momentum and to ensure the city is best placed to benefit from the shift to decarbonisation."

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