From Heavy Industry to a Net Zero Transition
The first in the Silent Spring City Focus Series is Middlesbrough on Teesside in North East England. Middlesbrough is arguably best known for its industrial roots and heavy industries but times are changing. Teesside Freeport will be the largest freeport in the UK and Middlesbrough/Teesside is now gaining a reputation for its growing green economy and in particular the development of net zero technologies such as carbon capture, hydrogen, offshore wind and waste to energy. In the autumn of 2022, Teesside will host alongside the UK Government Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy a Green Trade and Investment Expo. Combining environmental and economic interests, the International Trade Secretary said, the financial case for green trade is very clear. The global market for low-carbon exports is growing rapidly. By 2030, it’s projected to be worth almost £2 trillion’.
In 2019, Middlesbrough Council declared a climate emergency and two years later announced its Green Strategy Action Plan. The Green Strategy includes targets to be carbon neutral by 2039 and is based on ten One Planet Living principles (which also underpin the work of MEnvCity a local charitable organisation). The ten One Planet Living Principles are:
- Health and Happiness
- Equity and Local Economy
- Culture and Communities
- Land and Nature
- Sustainable Water
- Local and Sustainable Food
- Travel and Transport
- Materials and Products
- Zero Waste
- Zero Carbon Energy
Also, in 2021, Middlesbrough was named a Tree City of the World (joining more than 120 cities in 63 countries across the world) and pledged to plant and conserve trees. To improve biodiversity and enhance green corridors Middlesbrough pledged to create urban meadows by sowing urban flowers and wildflower seeds on roadsides as well as changing the way grass on verges is cut (leaving it long) and installing bee hives and tree hives as part of the Buzz in Boro programme.
Next in the Silent Spring City Focus Series will be Mumbai, India.