Our climate emergency: it’s time to act now
Cllr Matt Bryan, Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency at Cheshire West and Chester Council talks about the Climate Emergency Response Plan, and the role Peel L&P’s Protos can play in it.
Cheshire West and Chester Council announced a climate emergency in May 2019. Benefiting from a high concentration of industry, manufacturing and employment due to the rich industrial heritage in the borough, the area around Ellesmere Port is responsible for around 5% of the UK’s total energy consumption. We are also the fourth largest carbon emitter in the country and must look to counter this. The industrial and commercial sectors emit 62% of the total carbon released in the region, so there is a challenge ahead for these sectors. But we all need to take personal responsibility as well. By working together, we believe Cheshire West and Chester could become a carbon neutral borough by 2045, ahead of the Government’s 2050 target.
We recently published a draft Climate Emergency Response Plan because we know we can’t do this alone. We need buy-in from businesses, the public sector and, of course, the public. We’d like to get views on the plan with a consultation closing in January.
Our Climate Emergency Response Plan covers several key themes such as:
- Transport – increase use of public transport, and low-carbon hydrogen fuel, like the fuel that will be produced at Powerhouse Energy’s facility at Peel L&P’s Protos. Increase support for a hydrogen infrastructure
- Energy and Industry – increase solar, wind and tidal bioenergy production. Carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) will be critical because some carbon emissions are inevitable
- Housing – building homes with high energy efficient credentials
- Business Premises and engagement – a significant reduction of commercial heating and cooling, plus the electrification of heat
- Land Use, Adaptation, Climate Repair – managing food production, animal welfare and ecosystems
- Waste and recycling – increasing recycling and reducing household waste
Protos has a key role to play in responding to the climate emergency, both in terms of carbon reduction and the more sustainable management of waste. By making the facility ready for carbon capture, storage and utilisation (CCUS), it could be part of HyNet North West in the future, a project that will remove 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year. It will also be home to hydrogen production and recycling facilities. There are already businesses at Protos producing low carbon energy, like Bioenergy Infrastructure Group’s 21.5MW biomass facility. I was pleased recently to hear from another of Protos’ partners, Progressive Energy, at a climate conference in December. Progressive Energy’s North West Regional Lead - John Egan committed to not using imported fracked gas and the company has an overall ambition to transition from blue to green hydrogen as soon as technically possible in the future.
We have the opportunity in Cheshire West to be at the forefront of the green industrial revolution, decarbonising our industries and securing and growing new green jobs. So rather than seeing decarbonisation as a challenge we should also see it as a huge opportunity, where we can become world leaders in new technologies, deliver new skills and kick start the post-COVID economic recovery.
To read more about the Climate Emergency Response Plan, click here.