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Humber provides a strong case for whole-place environmental change through COP26 events and exhibition submissions

23 March 2021

Humber provides a strong case for whole-place environmental change through COP26 events and exhibition submissions

Organisations from across the Humber have put forward their case for inclusion at the UN Climate Change Conference UK 2021 – known as COP26.

The event, being held in Glasgow in November, welcomed submissions from organisations across the UK – with bids from the Humber region including the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Marketing Humber, University of Hull and Living with Water.

Hull is the city outside of London most at risk from rising sea levels, while the Humber region’s industrial cluster has the highest levels of emissions of all. In order for the region to meet its net-zero goals, a whole place approach to both the obstacles and solutions to climate change and decarbonisation issues are needed in our area, with the COP submissions tackling these issues head on.

The submissions also seek to highlight the huge potential of the region as well as the ways organisations are currently transforming our approach – shining a spotlight on the world-class research and industrial expertise in the Humber, which demonstrates how decarbonisation can be achieved while the local economy continues to thrive.

Our region is home to the largest windfarms in the world and leads the world in renewable technologies; we are delivering low carbon innovation to build a blueprint for clean growth and drive a green recovery in the Humber.

The Humber LEP has co-ordinated three joint bids with local partners to participate in the COP26 “Green Zone” exhibition – on the themes of: The Humber – Harnessing nature to deliver climate change; The Humber Energy Estuary: A local response to a global challenge; and The Humber – Striving towards living with water.

The LEP has spearheaded ambitions to create a net-zero region by 2040, including working on a plan for industrial decarbonisation with CATCH and eight industry partners.

Stephen Parnaby OBE, Chair of the Humber LEP, said: “It’s fantastic to see so many organisations across our region coming together and working towards this shared goal – to see industrial emissions reduced, businesses finding more environmentally friendly ways of working and solutions to climate change issues, residents living in a sustainable way, and tackling the obstacles created by rising sea levels.

“The Humber is the place where the biggest impact can be had and we know that without change in the Humber, the UK as a whole cannot reach its goals for emissions, which is why we hope to be able to bring our whole-place message to COP26.”

The two-week exhibition presence would be complemented by live events led by Marketing Humber and Aura.

Marketing Humber, the region’s place marketing company, led and coordinated the submission to bring The Waterline campaign to COP26.

The campaign was launched in 2019 in partnership with the University of Hull and Yorkshire Water, bringing together a collaboration of the largest scale; a network of businesses, communities, academics and students to build momentum for change and drive the race to net zero.

The submission is based on the Humber’s green energy pedigree, our region’s transition to net-zero, and changing the threat of rising sea levels into an era-defining opportunity to decarbonise for growth. Highlights include the threat from flooding and coastal erosion, the Humber’s opportunity to decarbonise as highest-carbon emitting region in the UK, and the region’s role as the UK’s Energy Estuary.

Bill Walker, Marketing Humber Chair, said: “This is a collaboration of the greatest kind, with everyone connected through a shared goal. There is no question - reaching net zero for the Humber is a must for our communities and for the UK. And there is also no hesitation - decarbonising the Humber is a challenge we are already rising to. The Waterline campaign is bringing businesses, academia, and communities together to play their part, change behaviours, create choices, and build a net zero future for all.”

Aura, led by the University of Hull, has submitted a proposal to showcase the first Festival of Green Innovation programme through the brand new Aura virtual, immersive events platform - ‘Aura ConneX’.

The Festival of Green Innovation film seeks to celebrate and inspire SMEs in particular, to innovate in the low-carbon space as they seek to adapt and build resilience for themselves but also for the community through the reduction of carbon emissions, and to support long-term green jobs retention and contribution to the clean growth for the local economy.

Louise Smith, Aura Director, said: “The UN’s COP26 Conference in November is all about accelerating action for Climate Change.  We know that small and medium size companies, which account for 99.9% of all UK businesses, are key to decarbonising our economy. They have a big role to play in building back better and greener and ensuring that the UK continues to lead the world in tackling climate change.  

“The Aura Innovation Centre is an asset for the Humber to help SMEs accelerate, innovate and collaborate. We are very pleased to have submitted to COP26 our contribution - our first very successful live broadcast of the Festival of Green Innovation programme, celebrating the Humber innovations in low-carbon. The Festival will be showcased in the immersive digital replica of the AIC – Aura ConneX.”

The Living with Water partnership aims to bring together community engagement, engineering innovation, stakeholder engagement and policy change to deliver a holistic solution over the next 25 years to tackle surface water management in the area

Named as one of the 5 Resilient Cities from the Rockefeller CWRA, ARUP study, Living with Water are contributing their objectives with other cities across the world including Miami, Cape Town and Mexico City, having the chance to share our story at COP 26 will bring together a compelling vision globally on how we, together are addressing innovative solutions for water management now.

Lee Pitcher, Head of Partnerships at Yorkshire Water, said: “A Blue-Green Plan will result in an innovative way of looking at sustainable drainage and provide key solutions for Hull and the East Riding in the future. The focus on climate change mitigation and social value is an important element of this project and we’re looking forward to delivering benefits, through Living with Water, for communities that have been impacted by flooding in the recent past.”

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