Net Zero North has been commended during an adjournment debate in the House of Commons that discussed the economic benefits of the Eden Project North in Morecambe, which forms a key element of the NzN programme.
Eden Project North in Morecambe, Lancashire is proposed as a year-round destination that would combine indoor and outdoor experiences, connecting people with the internationally-significant natural environment of Morecambe Bay. It is run by the team behind the Eden Project in Cornwall, which has injected more than £2bn into the south west regional economy.
The new development at Eden North is the proposed site of a key component of NzN, a programme undertaken by the N8 Research Partnership – the strategic collaboration between the North’s eight research intensive universities.
NzN will connect the Northern Powerhouse’s science and research capabilities, skills providers and businesses to forge a green recovery from COVID-19 while simultaneously putting the UK at the forefront at the global drive for net zero carbon.
The purpose of the parliamentary debate was to further make the case for Government funding of Eden Project North following a number of productive discussions with ministers, and was held by Morecambe and Lunesdale MP David Morris.
During the Debate Mr Morris said: “We must be seen to deliver on investment across the North. Levelling up does not mean investing only in Manchester, Liverpool or Leeds – the major cities – but levelling up all across the North West.
“Eden Project North has already got £55m on the table and ready to go, and we now need some Government investment to make it happen – to get the bulldozers in there to start turning around the fortunes of Morecambe and the Lancaster district and to help turn around the fortunes of the North west and its tourism.”
Mr Morris later addressed the importance of NzN: “Another brilliant exemplar project is the N8 Research Partnership with Net Zero North, which focuses on green collar jobs and agritech developments, enabling Eden Project North to work with the Lancashire agritech group to develop a testbed to offer for productivity improvements in food production. Together, these types of projects will surely demonstrate that the Government have a lot of commitment to levelling up.”
Responding for the Government, Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government Luke Hall said: “Proposals like Eden Project North are part and parcel of our core agenda to secure a vibrant and prosperous North and level up every part of our country.
“The proposals outlined the benefits of working with partners in the North, such as the N8 Research Partnership and Net Zero North, promoting clean and sustainable growth, and they outlined plans for the site to be an exemplar for the net zero green economy, food production and associated technologies.”
Professor Dame Sue Black, the pro-vice-chancellor for engagement at Lancaster University, was also praised by Mr Hall for the leadership she has shown as part of Eden Project North.
Dr Annette Bramley, director of the N8 Research Partnership, said: “It was deeply encouraging to hear the positive words of Mr Morris and Mr Hall during Wednesday’s debate.
“The debate took place at a critical time. The publication of the Dasgupta review earlier this month articulated society’s collective failure to engage with nature sustainably and how our economies and wellbeing are intrinsically linked to the health of the natural world.
“Professor Dasgupta made clear that while whole ecosystems are on the brink of collapse, transformative change is possible – but action must be taken immediately. The UK’s commitment to delivering that change is brought into sharp focus by our hosting of COP26 later this year. The world is currently watching, looking for evidence that we are undertaking policies befitting our status as hosts of such a historically significant event.
“Therefore, as we look ahead to next month’s budget and COP26, we encourage ministers to consider further the potentially profound impact of Net Zero North and Eden Project North. With the appropriate support, these programmes would be pivotal in steering forward the Government’s ten point green industrial revolution plan whilst simultaneously driving the recovery from COVID-19.
“As both Mr Morris and Mr Hall rightly pointed out, Eden Project North and Net Zero North would create jobs and training in the Northern communities that need it most. At Eden Project North, this would be achieved through the establishment of a Grow Smarter Skills Hub for industry-linked doctoral students with outreach links to FE colleges and the public in towns, cities, and communities right across the North – many of whom have suffered disproportionately as a result of the pandemic.
“This would see the whole country – not just the North – benefitting from a greener, fairer economy. We believe Eden Project North and Net Zero North are examples of the radical change that Professor Dasgupta says is required to help protect the planet for future generations.”