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Cheshire West leads the way to a green future

Cheshire West and Chester can play a leading role in a green industrial revolution. This is the verdict from the region’s business leaders following the announcement that Cheshire West and Chester Council and its partners helped to attract a £600m environmental energy project to the borough.

Ellesmere Port-based Essar Oil (UK) Ltd has announced plans for an innovative bio-refinery which will convert waste into low carbon aviation fuel. The plans mean that hundreds of thousands of tonnes of waste that would have been destined for landfill or incineration will be processed into a sustainable fuel source. Earlier this year Essar also announced its participation in production of blue hydrogen under the HyNet project in Ellesmere Port.

Clare Hayward MBE, Chair of Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, welcomed the proposed investment: “Finding innovative, sustainable solutions that will benefit our economy in the long term whilst also helping the UK meet its low carbon ambitions is one of the LEP’s highest priorities. We are therefore delighted to see these plans announced for the bio-refinery at Stanlow, which also underlines our ambitions to make the Ellesmere Port area the World’s first Net Zero Industrial Cluster.

“We believe Cheshire and Warrington can be a world leader in low carbon technology and play a leading role in the Government’s Green Industrial Revolution, so it’s great to see two global enterprises, Essar Oil and Fulcrum BioEnergy, recognising the capabilities and skills we have here with this huge proposed investment. We look forward to working with our partners locally and nationally to support these plans as they move forward.”

Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council told the ‘North West Net Zero: The Road to COP26’ press conference yesterday (22 February) that: “Cheshire and Warrington, and particularly Ellesmere Port is at the heart of decarbonisation delivery for the North West and the UK. The investment opportunity of projects such as the Bio-refinery, HyNet and world-leading nuclear research will place Cheshire and Warrington at the forefront of the green industrial revolution, as a renewably powered ‘Superplace’.” 

The Essar announcement is the latest in a host of developments in Cheshire West and Chester which are creating a renewed sense of optimism in the borough’s future.

Cheshire and Warrington are working with Manchester and Liverpool as part of the Net Zero North West project to produce a decarbonisation plan for the area. The development of the Net Zero North West Cluster will create at least 33,000 jobs and see over £4bn invested in the region. 

Added Councillor Gittins: “The Council has been working with Essar and the Department for International Trade for over two years and I’m delighted that the result is yet another major success story for Ellesmere Port. Not only will our borough be making a major contribution to the climate emergency but bringing both investment and green jobs to the area.

“There is an air of optimism against the backdrop of 2020. There is no doubt that COVID-19 has had a major impact on our business community, but from what we are seeing, this hasn’t stopped many new start-ups and multi-million-pound investment projects across the borough. Let’s see Cheshire and Warrington leading the way to economic recovery.”     

COP26 (UN Climate Change Conference) will be held in Glasgow in November. 

Many of the key decarbonisation propositions from the North West Net Zero partnership are based in Cheshire and Warrington. These include:

  • Cheshire West - HyNet: The UK’s leading low carbon hydrogen and CCUS project offers a low cost, low risk route to decarbonise the North West industrial cluster and other sectors of the regional economy. Kick starting the hydrogen economy, it will deliver a material contribution to net zero and considerable economic benefit. Repurposing Liverpool Bay gas fields infrastructure provides a low capital entry for CCUS deployment of 1 million tonnes of CO2 per year with incremental growth to 10 million tonnes per year and beyond.
  • Cheshire West - E-Port: The E-Port project will deliver a blueprint for unlocking capital investment in a net zero carbon industrial cluster in the Ellesmere Port region over a 10-year period.
  • Cheshire West - Protos: Developed by Peel L&P Environmental, Protos is a strategic cluster of energy generation and energy intensive industry in Cheshire; with over 54 hectares consented and a wider masterplan extending to 280 hectares. Existing infrastructure includes a 50 MW windfarm and 26MW biomass facility.
  • Cheshire West - Carbon Capture & Utilisation at Tata Northwich: A UK-first Carbon Capture and Utilisation project to capture 40,000 tonnes of food grade carbon dioxide for use as a raw material for high grade Sodium Bicarbonate manufacture in Cheshire. The project will capture flue gases from the combined heat and power plant at Tata Chemicals Europe’s Northwich industrial site in Cheshire and will reduce carbon emissions by over 10%.
  • Cheshire and Warrington - Strengths in advanced nuclear in Birchwood and at Capenhurst. Over 6,000 employed in nuclear industry focused at Birchwood.

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