North has best chance to benefit economically from net zero

New research suggests towns and cities in the North of England have the best chance to reap economic benefits from the transition to net zero.

The Social Market Foundation (SMF) found that Northern local authority areas make up half of the 20 places with the greatest opportunity to gain from the shift to a low-carbon economy.

The report measured a Green Opportunity Index, which ranks the spread of decarbonisation opportunities like green jobs and proximity to new renewable energy sites and industrial clusters.

The North West dominates the SMF’s Green Opportunity Index rankings, with 7 local areas in the top 20, and the other places made up by areas in the North East, Yorkshire, the Midlands and Wales.

The SMF said its report underlines the potential for net zero to contribute to levelling up the UK economy.

white and red boat on water near brown concrete building during daytime

Scott Corfe, research director at the Social Market Foundation, said: ‘The next three decades will transform local areas throughout the UK as governments, businesses and wider society come together to fulfil the country’s Net Zero ambitions.

‘Many parts of Britain face a golden opportunity to reap the benefits of decarbonisation, including green jobs and cleaner modes of travel. And it is vital that we seize these opportunities, as the transition will also bring risk and disruption for some areas.’

Only two local authorities in the South East, South West and London feature in the top 50 opportunity areas, with the capital least likely to experience the economic benefits of net zero.

The report also measured risk of disruption from net zero, and found that the East Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber, and Wales face the greatest risks due to high per capita emissions and reliance on employment in carbon-intensive industries.

The full report, Zeroing In, sponsored by Amazon, can be found here.

In related news, fairness is key to winning public support for decarbonisation, according to the final report by the Institute for Public Policy Research’s (IPPR) Environmental Justice Commission.

Photo by Laurie Byrne


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