The Humber is marketed as the ‘Energy Estuary’ for good reason. Home to a large number of energy producers and manufacturers of fuels, the Humber continues to attract investors in the energy sector.
A third of the country’s coal is imported through our ports, a fifth of the natural gas and we produce 20% of the UK’s power. With energy on tap the area is equally attractive to large energy users particularly in the process, manufacturing and chemical sectors.
Built on a maritime heritage the area boasts a rich culture, contributing to a quality of life helping to attract new business that can take advantage of our key sector strengths and supply chain capabilities. Our energy can not only be found in the cables and pipes of heavy industry but in its people and its culture.
Words by Kishor Tailor, CEO of the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)
Occupying 3,639sq km with a population of just short of a million at 924,000 the geography of the Humber is varied ranging from the beautiful Yorkshire and Lincolnshire Wolds and the bustle of the seaside towns to the heart of industry located on both banks of the estuary.
Supporting the growth agenda the area is served by the LEP, working in close partnership with local business leaders and the four local councils representing East Riding of Yorkshire, Hull, North East Lincolnshire and North Lincolnshire.
Our enviable starting point is a geography that supports business. The Humber is often described as the ‘Gateway to Europe’ having over 60 sailing a week to mainland Europe from the Humber ports, the largest ports in the UK by volume handled.
Our road and rail networks are relatively congestion free and are complemented by a storage and pipeline network that can handle specialist materials and chemicals. With highly competitive commercial rental values, we boast one of the largest Enterprise zones in the country with land costs circa 30% lower than comparable areas across the north; the Humber is experiencing an industrial renaissance.
Whilst the industrial machine sits at the heart of the Estuary, both banks of the Humber benefit from highly productive agricultural land supporting thousands of jobs in the agricultural sector.
The Humber has overtime developed world class capability in its key manufacturing sectors however recent success stories can be discovered across the Humber in a wide variety of sectors. Recently on the North bank our local authority partners, East Riding of Yorkshire have been working hard behind the scenes to help secure a number of investments including a state of the art rail production facility for Siemens to manufacture, assemble, test and commission trains in a £200m investment at Goole 36.
Following the recent acquisition of the Salt End Chemical Park by the new owners PX Group there is a refocus on attracting large scale users to the site with who can benefit from cost effective energy provision, Tricoya Technologies Ltd £60m being an example of a new investor taking advantage of the facilities on site.
The LEP with partners are encouraged to see companies investing in research and development facilities in the Humber. Hull has had recent investment success with RB, one of the world’s largest consumer goods groups, opening its new £105 million Centre for Scientific Excellence – the largest single investment in the company’s history. Indivior, a global leader in addiction treatment, also opened a new state-of-the-art research and development centre in Hull following a £23 million investment.
Off shore wind represents a fantastic opportunity, with billions of pounds being spent just off our coast. Siemens’ blade factory is complemented by the significant investment in construction and operations and maintenance facilities at the Port of Grimsby.
Innogy have for example recently confirmed that the port of Grimsby will be the O&M base for the Triton Knoll offshore wind farm, creating around 170 jobs and Orsted’s construction of their East Coast Hub. This will be the UK’s largest offshore wind O&M facility, due to be completed at the beginning of 2019.
More widely we are seeing increasing interest in our area for green energy based investments which create local jobs and supply chain opportunities, contributing to driving forward the area’s regeneration plans.
As to the future, the Humber continues to invest in creating a world class infrastructure that supports business and the environment. Rapid access to markets is important for many businesses and investment continues to flow into Humberside International Airport providing high quality business space and international connections. To be successful this requires effective forward thinking; and we continue to equip our workforce with skills for the future with the aeronautical training facilities at the airport being a good example.
Complementing the industrial offer, urban development and housing regeneration schemes are equally high on the agenda with Grimsby developing its Town Deal and exciting Hull City Centre redevelopments are planned spurred on by the successful City of Culture year.
We have a compelling argument for attracting investment in our key sectors but we always have an eye to investing in the future and this may be part of the reason why the area was recognised in a Tech Nation report as one of the best places to develop a Tech business in the UK. If you have the time we have the energy – let’s talk business.