Helping to create a lower-carbon economy

Yorkshire Forward is working to create a lower-carbon economy (LCE) in Yorkshire & Humber.

This page tells you about our Lower-Carbon Economy policy. To find out about the support we're delivering, please refer to our our efficiency through sustainability and greener economy pages.

We recognise that our day-to-day activities can affect the environment in many ways.  As part of our continuing drive for excellence in all that we do, we have developed an environmental policy statement outlining how we will help protect and enhance the environment.

Lower Carbon Economy brochure

Across the region there is huge scope to expand clean and renewable energy generation and to help businesses use energy efficiently. Our geography – with its land, ports and energy resources inland and offshore - further supports low carbon development. These strengths have led to the national designation of two ‘Low Carbon Economic Areas’ in Yorkshire and Humber.

These reflect internationally significant assets and cover Carbon Capture and Storage and Civil Nuclear. The region is also moving forward in other low carbon areas where it has key strengths and opportunities - including offshore wind, biorenewables and low carbon finance. You can find out more in our Low Carbon Economy brochure.

What is a LCE?

We define a lower-carbon economy as one where managed programmes of carbon-emissions reduction are embedded in organisational practices, across both the private and public sectors, in response to challenging targets.

In a LCE, organisations will identify and take responsibility for the full life-cycle, supply chain, direct and indirect costs of their carbon emissions, and seize the economic opportunities presented by low-carbon technologies.  All sectors have recognised, and taken action to adapt to, the current and future impacts of climate change.

Why are we doing this?

There are many reasons why we want to both reduce emissions and make sure that the the region is resilient to climate-change impacts. Some of these are set out below:

  • Due to high levels of industry and traditional power generation, Yorkshire & Humber is a high CO2-producing region—and emissions continue to rise here
  • Our region needs to play its part in helping to combat climate change, and to conserve finite resources
  • Moving to a LCE is set out in government targets
  • Ignoring climate change will ultimately undermine the economy
  • Acting now to reduce emissions and adapt to new circumstances (such as increased flood risk) will cost far less than dealing with the future consequences of climate change
  • Global markets for low-carbon technologies could be worth $500bn by 2050—but our region’s share of this market is amongst the lowest in the UK
  • Resource efficiency can significantly increase business competitiveness, through cost savings.

How will we go about it?

Yorkshire Forward will:
  • Lead Team Yorkshire & Humber (the top businesses and public agencies) towards a lower-carbon economy, focusing on energy, innovation, good business practice, and land management
  • Demonstrate how to decouple economic development from increasing energy/resource use
  • Ensure that all of our activities and interventions maximise opportunities for greenhouse-gas emissions reduction
  • Help to make the region’s economy more resilient to the impacts of climate change
  • Identify skills shortages and build capacity to enable the development and implementation of renewable and other low-carbon technologies
  • Provide a framework of support, demonstration and commercialisation.

What are we doing?

Our goal of a lower-carbon economy cuts across all areas of our work as we recognise the need to mainstream the approach across everything we do.  However, our delivery activity on the LCE is focused on:

  • Environmental assets—demonstrating how the region’s key environmental assets can mitigate the impacts of climate change and deliver sustainable economic and social gain. This includes green infrastructure, mitigating flood risk, land management for carbon sequestration, and woodland management for wood fuel
  • Sustainable consumption & production—we will support businesses in delivering products and services with lower environmental impacts across their life-cycle, and boost competitiveness. This means cleaner coal, carbon capture & storage, renewables, bio-energy, heat networks, and business resilience
  • Energy & climate change—we are implementing the Regional Energy Infrastructure Strategy, as you can see in the Regional Economic Strategy, and are helping businesses become more resilient to climate change
  • Low-carbon technologies & programmes—we’re putting the region at the centre of the emerging global low-carbon economy. CO2Sense, which is funded by Yorkshire Forward, is a consultancy for Yorkshire and Humber businesses to help them reduce their environmental impact and lower their costs. For environmental sector businesses, CO2Sense can help to start-up, grow and launch new green products and services.

Some facts

  • Yorkshire & Humber is still a carbon-intensive economy, contributing 13% of the UK’s greenhouse-gas emissions—yet providing 7.5% of GVA
  • Our region pumps approximately 90m tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere every year
  • Regional CO2 emissions showed a rise of 1.5% each year between 2000 and 2004, compared to a nationwide fall. This is due to our dependence on coal-fired power generation compared to the national switch from coal to gas
  • Companies can save an average of 1% of turnover, or £1,000 per employee, by implementing resource efficiency measures—whereas poor efficiency costs UK business £2bn every year.
  • The regional recycling sector is already worth £400m, with scope for growth
  • By 2080, the sea level around the Humber Estuary is predicted to rise by up to 82cm
  • If levels of atmospheric CO2 continue to rise, and GDP increases by between 2% to 3.5% per year, we can expect to see an increase in annual flood damage of over £10m by 2080 along the Lancashire-Humber corridor.

Who are we trying to influence?

  • Local authorities—because we need political will to change behaviour and deliver innovative projects at a local level
  • Business & commerce—because we need businesses to commit to reducing carbon emissions
  • Major greenhouse-gas emitters—to commit to significant emissions reductions
  • Public agencies—in terms of sharing resources and ensuring that their plans and strategies contribute to the LCE
  • Government departments—such as Defra, BERR and DCLG (Department of Communities and Local Government), to ensure that our views are reflected in planning decisions
  • Team Yorkshire & Humber (including Yorkshire Forward personnel)—because we need widespread commitment to the LCE.

Who are we working with?

As well as all our project partners, we work in partnership with central and local government agencies, and private-sector companies. These include Defra, BERR, the ERDF and the Environment Agency.

The Facts

  • Our region produces 13% of the UK’s greenhouse gases—yet we contribute 7.5% to national GVA.
  • Our region pumps 90m tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere every year.
  • The region’s annual greenhouse-gas emissions currently cost the economy £22.5bn per year.