Throughout Westminster, the Prime Minister’s ten-point plan for the ‘green industrial revolution’ has been met with great anticipation. The announcement of the plan to create 250,000 green jobs by generating clean power and using green technology to decarbonise the economy left many in the capital feeling confident about a greener future. Yet, away from the tall and proud buildings of Whitehall, what does the plan actually entail for those communities at the forefront of the action to reverse climate change, such as Anglesey?
MP for the island, Virginia Crosbie spoke after the announcement – “I represent the UK’s ‘energy island’ and the Prime Minister’s ten-point plan will be music to my constituents’ ears. Our clean energy industries have the expertise, technology, and natural resources to power Britain into a Net-Zero future. The new support for our nuclear and renewables sectors, which are major employers in my area, will help unleash their potential and drive private-sector investment in new exportable technologies. This landmark plan will help deliver our pledge to level up across Britain and will bolster the economic recovery in places like Anglesey.”
The most exciting points in the plan for the island are those making commitments to hydrogen and nuclear energy. The Government has set goals of generating 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production and of developing the first town heated entirely by hydrogen by 2030. For nuclear, £525 million has been set aside with the intention to advance nuclear’s use as a clean energy source, developing the next generation of small and advanced reactors.
Anglesey is home to cutting edge projects involving both hydrogen and nuclear energy. M-Sparc and Bangor University are at the forefront of hydrogen research and the A55 road could be home to the first “Hydrogen Highway” in the UK, with support from not for profit organisation Menter Môn. Many are enthusiastic about the future of the island’s nuclear site – Wylfa Newydd. Optimism for the project was reignited recently in light of new interest from a group of stakeholders including US engineering group Bechtel, alongside a number of other companies.
However, the good news for Anglesey need not stop there. Included in the Prime Minister’s plans are further commitments to electric vehicles that he stated could be manufactured and developed in North Wales.
Adding to this is support for the decarbonisation of public transport – of which the diesel fuelled North Wales Coast Line could be a potential target for investment. A particular focus for the Government is to take action on difficult-to-decarbonise industries; this is to be achieved through funding for research projects for zero-emission planes and ships.
The Government is also committed to making Net-Zero “super-places”, with significant investment in hydrogen, offshore wind, carbon capture and port distribution in these localities. As a key port, Holyhead is brimming with opportunities to make use of such investment and with the Hydrogen Hub project already underway, the port as well as the island are well set to charge forward the UK’s green technology sector.