“I refuse to condemn my sons’ generation and future generations to a planet that’s beyond fixing. We are going to take everyone with us as we transition to a new green economy. This means ensuring that all our jobs are fit for the future. We must act now, and in the North of Tyne we have a plan – one that is for people, and for jobs.”
– Mayor Jamie Driscoll, North of Tyne
NTCA launched our £18m Green New Deal Fund in November 2021 that enables SMEs, public sector and community and voluntary organisations to access funding for low carbon projects and to create green jobs. The fund aims to save over 3,000 tonnes of CO2 in total, as well as supporting renewable energy generation, and improved energy efficiency as far as possible. NTCA Climate Change, Energy and Green Growth Blueprint (published in April 2020) outlines our approach to tackling the climate emergency. This £24.2 million total allocation equates to approximately a quarter of the devolved NTCA Investment Funding in the first 5 year programming period to ensure the region can benefit from the opportunities associated with our future green economy.
Offshore Wind Innovation and Infrastructure Programme
The NTCA Offshore Wind Innovation and Infrastructure programme allocated an indicative £25m up to 2028, approving an initial £16m up to 2022/23. For both the innovation and infrastructure components, NTCA have so far provided over £17m total of funding.
Projects supported through the NTCA Offshore Wind Innovation and Infrastructure programme include:
The NTCA Cabinet Paper in September 2021 provides an update on the substantial investment and collaboration undertaken by the NTCA to reduce carbon emissions and create green jobs and Cabinet agreed a further allocation of £4m to support offshore wind.
The Technology, Innovation & Green Growth for Offshore Renewables (TIGGOR) is a £3.5m programme designed to boost supply chain growth and productivity in the North of Tyne and wider North East England region’s offshore wind and subsea sectors. Projects supported through TIGGOR include:
NTCA, together with MPs, councillors, businesses, the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, the Port of Tyne, and local authorities have set out set out a shared ambition for the Tyne to be a world leader in the offshore and renewable energy sectors
NTCA manages and jointly funds the North East Energy Accelerator to overcome market barriers and accelerate investment in low carbon projects across the North East. The North East Energy Accelerator has supported a significant pipeline of heat networks projects across the North East which were showcased across two events in September 2022 that brought people together from the heat networks industry, the public sector and from regional political leadership and academia to discuss how we can accelerate the delivery of the UK’s first low carbon heat cluster here in the North East.
NTCA Strategic Skills Plan (published March 2021) demonstrates that green growth and energy are priority growth sectors for North of Tyne, emphasising the opportunities around developing green skills and a just and inclusive transition to a green economy. The NTCA Cabinet Paper in January 2022 outlines over £4m investment in green skills in addition to the Adult Education Budget, including £2m allocated to the state of the art Energy Central Learning Hub in Blyth.
NTCA secured £5million in funding from the Department of Education (DfE) to expand the range of Skills Bootcamps across the region from July 2022 to 31st March 2023. This includes funding for Green Skills Bootcamps provided by the North East LEP.
A total of £11.6m UKSPF revenue funding is available to invest in People and Skills activities in the North of Tyne area up to March 2025. A key programme area is investing into Skills to Progress in Work, providing £1m in UKSPF investment for Green Skills Training to be delivered between April 2024 and March 2025.
This investment will provide training and awareness raising for people to develop green skills in the low carbon sector, including retraining heating engineers and construction workers in new green technologies. Further information on green skills training and wider investment in people and skills activities is available from our UKSPF People and Skills UKSPF People and Skills page.
The transition to net zero is further embedded into our Corporate Plan, published in June 2022.
The NTCA Environmental Policy, published in June 2020, commits us to embed climate change into our decision making processes and work towards becoming a net zero organisation. Our Carbon Footprint Report, published in November 2022, highlighted that investment in local woodland creation that will, over time, produce verifiable emissions reductions locally while we continue to work to reduce our corporate emissions.
The North of Tyne Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Change published their final report in July 2021. The NTCA Cabinet Paper in July 2021 introduces the work and the report of the Citizens’ Assembly, outlines progress in implementing our (March 2020) Climate Change, Energy and Green Growth Blueprint, and identifies further opportunities to build on the recommendations of our Citizens’ Assembly.
NTCA jointly commissioned the Centre for Sustainable Energy to undertake research into how we can better support community energy across the North East.
NTCA also commissioned the development of an evidence base to support domestic retrofit and the development of technical specification documents to support the development of a regional procurement framework for retrofit.
NTCA is now part of Net Zero North East England which is a new collaboration between local government, business, education, the public sector and civil society to drive a comprehensive regional approach to tackling the climate emergency.
NTCA held our inaugural Green Economy Summit in June 2021 ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) together with Newcastle University. Featuring a keynote address by Rt Hon Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth at the time, the Summit was a must-attend for anyone with an interest in our climate challenge, and the significant opportunity it represents for the region.
The opening keynote was followed by three parallel workshops on themes closely aligned to current government priorities and the levelling up agenda. These workshops set out the underlying trends, new investments and future priorities for clean energy and offshore wind, future mobility and net zero transport, and rural net zero.
NTCA launched our Zero Carbon, Zero Poverty Crowdfund in July 2021. Aligned with Mayor Driscoll’s manifesto commitment to work with communities to tackle the climate emergency and food poverty, and the NTCA’s work towards a net zero transition, the theme of the third Spacehive funding round was ‘Zero-carbon, Zero-poverty’.
The Mayor’s fund funded projects that were brought forward by the community. This includes 47 community projects that include but are not limited to:
If you have an idea for a community project in North of Tyne you can find more information on our Crowdfund North of Tyne page.
NTCA sponsored the Bring it On: Net Zero North East – Engineering Your Future Event and launched the Mayor’s Schools Climate Challenge in October 2021. The Mayor’s Schools Climate Challenge saw NTCA supporting programmes to engage children and young adults ages 8 to 19 explore key climate change themes, consider how we might work towards net zero and engage in STEM and Digital subjects. This innovative work will help to generate interest in climate change for young residents through the lens of STEM and Digital subjects. NTCA also funded a pilot to extend the Newcastle University Kids Action Thru Change project, aimed at pupils aged 6 – 8.
The NTCA Cabinet Paper in January 2022 provides a further update on the approach NTCA is taking to responding to the Citizens’ Assembly’s recommendations around energy, housing and skills and allocated up to £1 million to support these initiatives. indicatively comprising £0.8m for a programme of advice and support for businesses to help them reduce their carbon emissions and £0.2m for the development of a business case for a major housing retrofit programme.
The North of Tyne Business Support Decarbonisation Programme will help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprises (VCSEs) from a broad range of sectors and communities across the North of Tyne region achieve reductions in energy costs and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This project, called Business Energy Saving Team (BEST) will be delivered by Newcastle City Council on behalf of the constituent Local Authorities and will provide business advice including energy audits, and grants to support organisations to decarbonise. BEST will also develop a local supplier directory, providing opportunities for local installers to obtain work emerging from energy audit recommendations.
In January 2022, Cabinet also endorsed the North of Tyne Wellbeing Framework which is being developed to support institutions and organisations across the North of Tyne to put the framework into practice to help everyone in the region work towards economic prosperity and greater wellbeing. This includes a focus on environmental wellbeing.
In January 2022, Cabinet allocated £500,000 to develop the Northumberland Stewardship and Rural Growth Investment Plan and related interventions. This puts our natural capital and assets at the heart of the approach – recognising the major economic and net-zero opportunity from the rural ‘stewardship’ agenda (including re-wilding, tree-planting and sustainable rural infrastructure), whilst also considering the opportunities for improving existing livelihoods, communities and food security.
The NTCA Cabinet Paper in November 2022 provides an update on progress. NTCA Cabinet approved an initial £9m package for the Stewardship and Rural Growth Investment Plan, that prioritises nine strategic, transformational programmes for investment;
NTCA are funding the Challenge North Tyne innovation project which will support 50 businesses to bring solutions to market that will help to ‘deliver energy efficient, low carbon homes’ and ‘support older people at home, work and play’. The programme will facilitate collaboration between small to medium-sized businesses and larger organisations who are experts in each sector to allow for rapid development and testing of the proposed solutions.
NTCA are currently working with the Energy Democracy Project (EDP) on a Just Transition Research Project, to examine what a just transition means to workers, communities and businesses in our region and identify pathways for socially inclusive decarbonisation.
… and more to come.