The Green Recovery Plan – comment from our Managing Partner, Andrew Moorby

Andrew Moorby, Managing Partner at MHA Tait Walker and Head of our Teesside office, discusses how the Government’s Green Recovery plan could help to boost the North East economy, provided we take advantage of the opportunities now.

We are in a period of great uncertainty with the pandemic disrupting all of our plans and the possibility that there won’t be an agreement with the EU at the end of the transition period. In the short term, it is vital that businesses ensure that they have sufficient cash to see them through the current uncertainties and that they have taken the necessary actions to cope with a no deal exit such as, holding enough stock, having the correct VAT and duty registrations etc.

It may seem that cashflow management and preparing for our new relationship with the EU and the rest of the world is enough, but should we be going further?

With change comes opportunity

The world is changing rapidly and what was once a safe industry may not be so in the future. But with change comes opportunity. The Government wants to see us become Net Zero. They hope to see a Green Recovery. The North East is a prime location to benefit from new industries. We have great ports with easy access to the North Sea which has the highest average wind speeds in Europe and is therefore an ideal location to benefit from offshore wind. We also have a great tradition for engineering and construction as well as five great universities.  

Using our long history for engineering excellence, we are ideally placed to benefit from building the offshore wind farms and the infrastructure that is necessary to harness this power. But it’s not just engineering that will benefit from a Green Recovery. New building technologies will be necessary to make structures more energy efficient and use less energy in their construction. The transport industry will need huge investment to create the necessary zero carbon infrastructure.

We have an opportunity to take our existing skills and make them relevant to the 21st century

Plans to make Tees Valley carbon neutral will attract industries to the area keen to take advantage of the infrastructure for carbon capture and storage that they hope to have available.

We have an opportunity to take our existing skills and make them relevant to the 21st century but we need to move now, or others will do so before us. Whilst Government initiatives and funding, such as the Green Homes Grant program, will help some to make the change it will take local business owners working alongside local government to create the right conditions to allow firms to leverage and learn from one another to reinvigorate our local economy.

The Tees Valley is leading the way for the region

If you look at the Tees Valley area, there have been a string of high-profile announcements over recent weeks. In October there was an announcement in relation to a carbon capture, utilisation and storage project, a project run by some of the world’s largest oil companies, as they seek to diversify away from oil  into the new industries. Tees Port has announced a second waste to energy plant attracting £430k of new private investment. ReNew ELP has won a £4.4m grant from Innovate UK to build a world first plastic recycling plant at Wilton. These are just some examples of the great things that are going on around us,

The opportunities are there but we need to evolve and adapt if we are to get the full benefit of the changes. Local and national government can provide funding and create the right conditions to start the process of change, but we must move quickly if we are to take advantage of this.