A new and innovative green investment plan for Cumbria is being developed by a consortium of local and national partners. The plan will enhance the county’s competitiveness nationally, benefit the county’s economy, boost employment opportunities and help tackle climate change.
The investment plan will identify a set of iconic projects across Cumbria in sectors such as energy generation, transport, agriculture and waste management, along with exploring the sources of finance required from institutional investors, banks, public finance and community funding institutions. Key partners involved include Grantham Research Institute of the LSE, the multinational engineering and design company Arup, local charity Cumbria Action for Sustainability (CAfS) and local consultancy EdenWorks Green. The project is also collaborating closely with Friends of the Earth, Cumbria Local Economic Partnership (LEP), local authorities, utilities, businesses, NGOs, community groups and residents who will also help develop the plan.
Professor Nick Robins of Grantham Research Institute and project chair said: “More and more banks and investors recognise the opportunity of investing in green projects and for good returns from supporting climate friendly projects. This project will highlight Cumbria’s significant green economy potential and will bring together a range of investable projects that will work for the Cumbrian people.”
Project lead, Ciara Shannon of EdenWorks Green, said: “Cumbria’s outstanding mix of natural assets and workforce skills makes its potential to reduce carbon emissions unprecedented. To fully capitalise on this potential, we need a joined-up investing strategy which can unleash a wave of green investments and employment possibilities.”
Michael Osborne, Director of Arup, said: “Cumbria’s potential for generating green electricity is massive. For example, the county could produce green hydrogen from wind energy quite quickly. Investment in Cumbria’s net-zero energy system needs to start as soon as possible. This innovative plan will attract vital climate finance in Cumbria’s future.”
Karen Mitchell, CEO of Cumbria Action for Sustainability (CAfS), said: “We are delighted to be the NGO partner on this project. Our ‘Potential for green jobs in Cumbria’ report earlier in the year showed that investments of £8.88 billion could put in place measures to reduce Cumbria’s carbon emissions to reach net zero, create thousands of jobs and deliver big savings on energy bills for businesses. This work will help to make that vision a reality.”
Chief Executive of Cumbria LEP, Jo Lappin, said: “Cumbria LEP is fully committed to achieving a net zero Cumbria at the earliest opportunity through supporting clean energy generation and helping our businesses to decarbonise. The green investment plan can clearly help to deliver on these priorities alongside supporting wider clean energy initiatives. Cumbria has the potential to make a significant national contribution to clean energy generation based on our nuclear, advanced manufacturing, offshore wind and renewable capability, alongside outstanding natural capital, which has allowed our visitor economy, agricultural sector and food production to flourish. The green investment plan will help us to deliver major green projects and create substantial new job opportunities.”
The investment plan will be published in November 2021 and is intended to lead to significant new funding coming into the county from a host of different sources.