A total of 23 schemes will receive a share of the York and North Yorkshire Net Zero Fund, investment which has been unlocked by the region’s proposed devolution deal and will be allocated by the Department of Levelling Up and Communities, subject to devolution progressing for York and North Yorkshire.
Parliamentary debates on devolution for the region are anticipated this autumn, with mayoral elections timetabled for May 2024.
The fund will invest in schemes that can deliver significant carbon reductions and contribute to York and North Yorkshire’s ambition to be net zero by 2034. Alongside carbon reduction, investment aims to create a pipeline of net zero projects that will drive economic growth, create jobs, reduce energy costs for businesses and leverage further investment for the region.
The approved projects cover a broad range of issues relating to net zero, such as decarbonisation of community buildings and transport, with schemes across York and North Yorkshire. Street and building LED lighting schemes in York are also approved, as well as innovations in energy generation, including The Electric Cow Project at Askham Bryan College in the city.
The farming focussed scheme will fund slurry-fuelled conversion equipment that can be introduced to dairy farms across the region to generate electricity from cow manure. Other projects approved aim to tackle a decline of biodiversity, such as the project at the Denton Park Estate, on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, where funds will support moorland restoration.
Alongside £6 million to fund 12 capital projects, £1 million of the fund will be allocated to develop new net zero projects from “idea to investor ready”. There are 11 of these, including the development of full business cases for renewable energy schemes using Solar PV and onshore wind and the Harewood Whin Green Energy Park in York. A feasibility and business case development for shore-side power at Scarborough and Whitby harbours included on the shortlist could become an “exemplar study” for medium-to-small ports nationally.
Approvals for the broad range of projects was made by the York and North Yorkshire Joint Devolution Committee at a meeting in Northallerton on Monday 23rd October. The fund is part of the proposed York and North Yorkshire devolution deal, which would see the formation of a combined authority, election of a mayor and a transfer of powers and funding from national to local government.
North Yorkshire Council’s leader, Cllr Carl Les, said: “This is a significant step forward for projects which will be extremely important to help to achieve our aims of tackling the threat of climate change, while driving forward innovation and expertise in the green technology sector.
“This is a clear indication of the benefits that are already being realised ahead of the proposed devolution deal for York and North Yorkshire being introduced.
“These projects will provide more jobs and greater career opportunities, while developing what is such an important sector that will be recognised nationally and bring in more investment to York and North Yorkshire.”
City of York Council’s leader, Cllr Claire Douglas, said: “Our new council Plan – ‘One City, for all’ – has, in its four key commitments to improving Equality, Affordability, Climate and Heath, a clear ambition for York’s environment and net zero, including through work with our partners. This announcement represents a significant investment in the city and a significant step in delivering on the commitments we have made.
“This is the first win of what we hope will be many for the new combined authority, and it is good news for our economy, our Net Zero aspirations and for York’s communities.”
Projects approved will support the implementation of York and North Yorkshire’s Routemap to Carbon Negative, the North Yorkshire Council Climate Change Strategy and City of York’s Climate Change Strategy. Collectively, the 12 capital schemes alone are expected to result in more than 70,000 tonnes of carbon emissions saved between 2025 and 2029.
The full list of projects where funding was approved
The 12 capital projects, receiving a share of £6 million are:
- Moorland Restoration Project, Denton Park Estate
- REstore, North York Moors National Park Authority
- Net Zero for Yorkshire North & East Methodist District
- The Electric Cow Project, Askham Bryan College
- Solar PV & Battery Storage installation on Council Commercial Assets, North Yorkshire Council
- Kildwick to Silsden Active Travel Link, North Yorkshire Council
- Community Transport Decarbonisation, North Yorkshire Council
- Decarbonising Community Buildings, North Yorkshire Council
- Renewable Heating Upgrade – Alex Lyon House, City of York Council
- Honeysuckle House heat pump communal heating upgrade, City of York Council
- Street Lighting LED Conversion, City of York Council
- Commercial Buildings LED Lighting Renewal Project, City of York Council
The 11 revenue projects, receiving a share of £1 million are:
- Shore Power at Scarborough and Whitby Harbours, North Yorkshire Council
- Establishing a Baseline for Evidence and an Action Plan for Regenerative Farming in York & North Yorkshire, Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority
- Lastingham Case Study, North York Moors National Park Authority
- The Great Yorkshire Kelp Forest, East Riding of Yorkshire Council (Yorkshire Marine Nature Partnership)
- Whitby and Scarborough Park and Ride EV Hyperhub Business Case Development, North Yorkshire Council
- Electric Vehicle Public Charging Infrastructure Rollout Strategy Next Steps, North Yorkshire Council
- District Heat Network – Potto, North Yorkshire Council
- Elvington Lane Solar PV, City of York Council
- Harewood Whin Green Energy Park, City of York Council
- North Wigginton Onshore Wind – Project Development, City of York Council
- Green Energy Park at Seamer Carr and Decarbonising Allerton Waste Recovery Park, North Yorkshire Council.