Piece Hall boss backs a ‘green revolution’ for North

The Government faces a “moment in history” to empower and invest in a green future to combat the glaring generations of structural unemployment inequalities that are holding back Northern communities, a Yorkshire business leader has said.

Sunday, 9th May 2021, 7:00 am
Updated Monday, 10th May 2021, 8:50 am
Roger Marsh OBE DL, Chair of The Piece Hall Trust,

Roger Marsh OBE, chair of the NP11 - a group of all 11 northern local enterprise partnerships - said: “The Green Industrial Revolution provides significant opportunity for the creation of good quality jobs across the North, particularly where employment remains a challenge as a result of the pandemic and long-standing issues.”

He added the North is already generating “significant green growth” for the UK and he highlighted recent NP11 research indicates that investment in decarbonisation and clean growth could create up to 100,000 green jobs which would provide a "major and much-needed boost" to the North and the UK.

Calls have been made on the Government by northern civic and business leaders and environment and wildlife campaigners to be “more ambitious” in safeguarding the environment - including protecting peatland across Yorkshire - to deliver on climate action, and to create more opportunities for areas worst hit by unemployment.

Yorkshire leaders said the recovery from covid-19 should be used to place long-term investment into environmental projects alongside other infrastructure as part of the Government’s levelling up agenda.

Across the region this includes investing in protecting peatland across the ‘Great North Bog’ area, including in Thirsk, Skipton and Richmond.

Mr Marsh, who is also the Chair of the Piece Hall Trust in Halifax, added the Government needed to prioritise long-term investment in Yorkshire environmental assets including the growth of the Northern Forest and the ‘Great North Bog’ area.

He said: “The scope for creating skilled and sustainable jobs in these industries to support the UK’s journey to a clean growth economy is one that I fully endorse.”

Richard Benwell, the chief executive of the Wildlife and Countryside Link, added: "This shows we can build back from the pandemic in a green way, rebuilding nature alongside a cleaner, green economy.

"With a few simple changes to existing programmes, the chancellor really can seize the opportunity of creating new long term jobs with better green space for local communities."

The Government said it is determined to "seize the economic opportunities" and build back greener from the pandemic by supporting up to 2 million green jobs across the country by 2030.

A Government spokeswoman said: "As a world leader in the fight against climate change, our ambition to protect the planet goes hand in hand with supporting economic growth and prosperity across every region of the UK.

"There are already over 410,000 jobs in low carbon businesses and their supply chains across the UK.

"To build on this progress, we are bringing together businesses, skills providers and trade unions through our Green Jobs Taskforce to deliver the skilled workforce we need to put the UK at the forefront of the global green industrial revolution."