NEW SURVEY: Teessiders surveyed over green jobs investment
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen and Chancellor Rishi Sunak on the former SSI steelworks site
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen should use his influence on the Chancellor to persuade him to spend more on green jobs and infrastructure in the area, according to new survey.
National campaign group 38 Degrees has revealed the localised results of a new poll looking at the future of green energy.
A total of 68% of those surveyed said Mr Houchen should put further pressure on Rishi Sunak to support jobs in the renewable sector.
A further 74% of Teesside voters say the Government should prioritise renewable industries such as wind and solar energy above all others.
That figure rose to 88% when the views of Conservative voters alone were taken into account.
Five hundred people living on Teesside from across the political spectrum were questioned ahead of the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference – also known as COP26 – which the Government is hosting in Glasgow next month.
A total of 72% of Conservative voters who took part in the survey agreed that “strong leadership on climate from the UK Government would demonstrate what post-Brexit Britain can achieve on the global stage”.
The LDRS asked Conservative Mr Houchen if the progress being made with bringing green jobs to the area matched the pace at which change needed to be made in order to reverse the catastrophic effects of climate change.
Mr Houchen said: “We are creating thousands of good-quality, well-paid jobs in the clean, green industries of the future.
“From carbon capture to developing hydrogen as a fuel for homes and vehicles, Teesside is at the forefront of delivering the government’s ambition for the UK to be net carbon zero by 2050.
“Work will get underway shortly at Teesworks for GE’s mammoth facility to manufacture blades for offshore wind turbines that will be part of the Dogger Bank scheme in the North Sea.
“This one project will create 2,250 good quality jobs and when completed the huge factory will create up to 750 direct highly skilled jobs, and close to 1,500 indirect jobs to support its supply chain.
“This paired with our new heavy lift quay puts Teesside right at the centre of the offshore wind turbine manufacturing industry.”
He added: “I have no doubt that Teesside will soon be as synonymous with clean energy and Net Zero as Silicon Valley is for tech and social media, and from offshore wind to carbon capture we’re powering ahead like no other region in the country.”
Doug Craig, from Middlesbrough, who took part in the 38 Degrees commissioned survey, said: “All the evidence suggests that the planet is already in the grip of a climate catastrophe which needs mitigating without delay.”
Megan Bentall, head of campaigns at 38 Degrees, said: “Voters across Teesside want the Government to take proper action on climate change and they want the likes of Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen to do more to make it a reality.”
Mr Houchen is tasked with boosting economic growth and acting as an ambassador for the region to attract inward investment.
His Tees Valley Combined Authority has responsibility for a £588m investment plan covering a number of areas including transport, education, employment and skills, culture and tourism, and research and innovation.
Words: Stuart Arnold, Local Democracy Reporter
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