Six industrial zones share £8M funding to develop plans to reach Net Zero by 2040

Six industrial zones across the UK will share £8 million in government funding to produce detailed plans for reducing emissions across major areas of industrial activity.

The Industrial Clusters Mission aims to deliver  four low-carbon regional zones by 2030 and at least one net zero green hotspot by 2040. A net zero industrial zone will see all industries in a region working with local authorities to collectively reduce their carbon dioxide emissions to as close to zero as possible using low-carbon energy sources and new technology like carbon capture.

The six zones will now produce detailed plans for reducing emissions using shared clean energy infrastructure, such as carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) and low-carbon hydrogen production and distribution.

The funding is part of the government’s £170 million Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge, which supports co-ordinated research, technology and infrastructure that allows UK industry to reduce carbon emissions at large scale and in a way that can be easily replicated. It is awarded via the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.


Bryony Livesey, UKRI Challenge Director, Industrial Decarbonisation, said: “Today’s announcement shows that the industrial clusters campaign is proceeding at pace. This second phase of the competition asks companies and partners to plan for comprehensive changes to industries, products and supply lines.

“This is a crucial step in the government’s plans to develop cost-effective decarbonisation in industrial hubs that tackle the emissions challenge UK industry faces. The move to low carbon industry is a huge opportunity, with the chance for the UK to take the lead and seize a large share of a growing global market.”

The six projects are: 

South Wales Industry – A Plan for Clean Growth

Region: South Wales
Project Lead: CR Plus consultancy

The South Wales Industrial Cluster (SWIC) is a diverse mix of critical industry. It will take a five- step approach with five spatial zone types.

Repowering the Black Country 

Region: Black Country
Project Lead: The Black Country Consortium

By 2030, without radical action, Black Country industry will be responsible for 2.3 MtCO2 emissions a year, from an industrial base of more than 3000 energy-intense businesses, many still engaged in the region’s traditional metal processing operations. The Black Country Consortium (a partnership of private, public and voluntary sector organisations), aims to reduce emissions to zero by 2030 through a co-ordinated programme of transformational projects focused around a new type of industrial estate: the zero carbon hub.

Zero carbon hubs will be based around anchor industrial processes, strategically-selected to match Black Country skills and strengths (for example aluminium reprocessing). Each hub will contain a mix of businesses carefully selected to complement each other by thinking about their energy and waste flows.

Net Zero Tees Valley

Region: Teesside
Project Lead: Tees Valley Combined Authority

The Tees Valley is the UK’s most compact and integrated industrial cluster. Within a radius of 5 miles it has several of the UK’s top CO2 emitters and is responsible for 8.8 million tonnes of CO2.

It is expected that this plan will combine carbon capture at scale, fuel switching to hydrogen, integration of renewables, low carbon energy sources, feedstocks changes, together with improved process and energy efficiencies.

Scotland’s Net Zero Roadmap 

Region: Scotland
Project Lead: Neccus

SNZR will provide the roadmap to enable large-scale industrial CO2 emissions reduction in a way that focuses on ensuring the continued, but evolving, contribution of high-value industry and employment in a future net zero economy.

Led by Neccus, an alliance of industries and experts, the SNZR will provide the roadmap that enables the deployment of options in a way that ensures competitive decarbonisation. It says offshore Scotland has some of Europe’s best-characterised and largest CO2 storage sites while CCS and hydrogen will create opportunities for jobs and economic activity and help transition staff employed in sectors such as oil and gas.

The Net Zero NW Cluster Plan

Region: North West
Project Lead: Peel Environmental

Led by developer Peel Environmental in the North West of England and North East Wales. It will describe the investments, technologies, infrastructure changes and sequencing, building on the preliminary research completed in Phase 1.  It will collaboratively promote and engage on plans to decarbonise, ensuring businesses have a strong voice in planning decarbonisation activity in line with current and future business needs whilst leveraging inward investment opportunities.

Humber Industrial Cluster Plan

Region: Humber
Project Lead: Humber Local Enterprise Partnership

The Humber emits more CO2 than any other industrial cluster (30% more than the next largest), while the area is one of the most vulnerable to climate change.

The Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (Humber LEP) and membership organisation CATCH will lead on the project and work with industrial partners across the Humber.

A phased approach will prioritise near-term deliverable investments that will see quick results, significantly reducing the Humber’s emissions by 2030, mapping out how carbon capture and storage (CCS) and hydrogen infrastructure can be scaled up over time, and identifying the full range of interventions required to achieve net zero by 2040.

HCP will also outline the potential for the Humber’s industrial decarbonisation to support decarbonisation beyond the industrial cluster, including maritime in the UK’s largest ports complex, road/rail transport and decarbonisation of the gas supply (25% of the UK’s supply passes through the Humber). Linked opportunities and implications for renewable energy, especially bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and offshore wind (both of which the Humber leads on and are integral to decarbonising industry), will also be identified.


Decarbonising UK industry is a key part of the government’s  plan for the green industrial revolution, which is laid out in its Ten Point Plan and Energy White Paper .