Decarbonisation holds huge opportunities for the north of England. The energy sector is one of the North’s ‘prime capabilities’. The region has a leading low-carbon goods and services sector - accounting for around a third of all jobs in the sector in England. It has world-renowned universities and leading expertise in technologies such as nuclear power, hydrogen and offshore wind. This is matched by the many historic, geographic and geological advantages that exist in the region.
In short, there is substantial potential for the north of England to become the new heartland for a low-carbon energy economy. Up to 46,000 jobs could be created by 2030 just in the power sector, the focus of this report, alone.
In the past, industrial change has been poorly managed, including in the north of England, resulting in regional inequalities. But a well-managed ‘just transition’ could build on the economic strengths of the north of England and deliver a high-skill, high-wage, low-carbon economy of the future.
We have identified three key challenges that exist in delivering a just transition.
- Lack of policy certainty and ambition.
- Failure to put a ‘just transition’ at the heart of decarbonisation policy and industrial strategy.
- An ill-equipped skills system.
In this report we discuss these challenges in more detail and make the case for a new approach that puts economic and social justice at the heart of energy and skills policy in the North. To achieve this, we set out a range of recommendations that are crucial to this ambition and ultimately form the components of a Just Transition Strategy for the north of England.