In this month’s Yorkshire Post column, Humber LEP Chief Executive Kishor Tailor discusses the Humber’s multi-level approach to fighting flood risk in our region:
The Humber area is synonymous with great bodies of water – with the Estuary that runs through it – as well as rivers such as the Ouse and Trent which flow into it – and the beautiful North Sea coastline in our part of the world.
Partners who have a role in developing the region and ensuring future prosperity for this area know that we must work with the River Humber and our coastlines as not only a great economic resource, but also to protect people living and working here and businesses operating in the area, from any potential future dangers to living in close proximity to water – such as flooding.
At the Humber LEP we are working with a range of industry partners and statutory agencies to mitigate potential issues of flooding on two different levels – not only by supporting our partners to improve flood defences through our investment programmes; but also by fighting climate change through the development of clean energy and by leading on decarbonisation.
The Humber is a driving force in creating sustainable energy sources – we are home to the UK’s largest offshore windfarm project – Orsted’s Hornsea One – which has the capability to power thousands of homes – while Siemens Gamesa chose to build its wind turbine manufacturing plant at Green Port in Hull.
In partnership with the Environment Agency and the Humber’s Local Authorities we have seen the region’s flood defences bolstered considerably through a number of flood defence projects in the last few years, with the LEP having supported local authorities and partners to complete several flood defence projects through the Local Growth Fund.
In July last year, a £5.2million tidal defence scheme aimed at reducing the risk of flooding to properties in Paull, on the north bank of the Humber Estuary, was completed.
Meanwhile, work continues on the Cottingham and Orchard Park Flood Alleviation Scheme, a £21million project, with £5million provided from the Humber LEP’s Growth Deal, a project which will play its part in reducing the risk of flooding for 5,700 homes in Hull and the East Riding.
Growth Deal Funding has also supported flood defence projects on the River Hull, at Albert Dock, and in Howdenshire and Anlaby and East Ella. Meanwhile, Hessle Foreshore, which was also affected by flooding in recent years, will also soon be better protected after planning for a new flood defence wall was approved in January.
All this work is vital to ensure residents and businesses are not adversely affected by unexpected weather events such as the tidal surge of 2013, or the flooding of 2007 after extremely heavy rainfall.
However, we all know that as much as we can mitigate the effects of flooding and help protect the Humber region from freak weather events and rising sea levels, other ways to help stop the impact of flooding are through tackling climate change and assisting the residents of the Humber to become more flood resilient.
Yorkshire Water, through their ‘Living with Water’ project, are currently developing approaches to engage communities in the area, building their resilience by informing the decisions they make on housing and linking flood alleviation with community facilities.
Allied to this is climate change, which is something on everyone’s minds, and is being brought to the forefront of the national agenda. We know that climate change must be at the heart of everything we do and industry can play a huge role in combating this issue.
As we develop our Industrial Strategy, our focus will be to build on our Energy Strategy, with decarbonisation and green energy having an unprecedented part to play in creating a cleaner and greener Humber, with prosperous and thriving region for business.
As the Government sets its sights on ensuring the legally binding targets of the Climate Change Act 2008 are met, all areas of the country must forge plans for how they are going to tackle emissions and ensure that while becoming greener, industry is still both profitable and growing.
The Humber has the credibility to deliver on clean energy growth and can illustrate how it can be a leader in this type of development.
Our emerging Humber Energy strategy outlines the potential of Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS) to reduce carbon emissions in the area. CCUS is a method of capturing harmful carbon emissions before they are released into the atmosphere, and either storing it safely in underground rock formations, or through using it in other industrial processes, such as drinks manufacturing.
The Humber’s cluster of high emitting industries, combined with our proximity to the geologically perfect-for-storage North Sea bed, makes the Humber an ideal location for trialling large scale CCUS projects, which could make a real impact in combating harmful emissions.
As the government looks forward on CCUS, with a BEIS Select Committee report on the future of the technology delivered recently, we hope the recommendations suggested – collaborative working between the clusters and three industrial clusters that should be appointed to adopt carbon capture by 2025 – will help promote decarbonisation and lower emissions further across the Humber and the North.
In addition, the ‘net-zero’ report delivered by the Climate Change Committee last week also recommended that Bioenergy Carbon Capture and Storage is deployed at scale by 2030 – and that “To achieve net zero, it is likely to be necessary to deploy bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) to generate negative emissions.”
The Humber would be perfectly placed for this innovation and would be at the forefront of the fight to support industry’s efforts to reduce emissions and help fight climate change.