Despite a decline since the 1970s, when manufacturing contributed to 25% of UK GDP, the UK is currently the ninth largest manufacturing nation in the world. In 2019, the manufacturing industry was worth nearly £400 billion.
As well as a rural reputation Cheshire also has a high concentration of manufacturing and industry from chemical production automotive, pharmaceuticals and oil. These industries continue to drive the regional economy, providing high value jobs and long-term careers.
Putting the uncertainties of Brexit to one side, one of the biggest challenges facing the industry is how they can continue to remain competitive whilst meeting the pressure to decarbonise.
Recent research by Make UK and E.ON found that 90% of manufacturers are aware of the UK’s target to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and nearly half were already committed to following through with concrete actions laid out in corporate social responsibility commitments. However, the biggest barrier remains the cost of low carbon technology.
With industry accounting for a quarter of the UK’s greenhouse gases decarbonising the manufacturing sector is going to be critical if we’re to reach our legally binding net zero targets. So, what’s the answer? It’s likely to be a mixture of carrot and stick. As part of its green recovery plans the Government needs to provide fiscal incentives for companies to invest in new technology and energy efficiency measures. The other option is a Carbon Tax, which is being considered to replace the EU Emissions Trading System which the UK leaves at the end of this year.
At Peel NRE’s Protos we see another way there is already low carbon energy generation being delivered – with more to come – and our ultimate aim is to deliver this directly to industry through a local energy grids which could see costs substantially reduced and save thousands of tonnes of carbon emissions. This could be existing industry that already surrounds Protos, or we see the offer of ready and available low carbon energy as a huge incentive for manufacturing businesses to locate at Protos. By clustering together energy generators with energy intensive users we can help to protect our manufacturing industries and drive our green recovery.
To find out more about locating at Protos