Green Industry Jobs

Green Alliance report suggests nature and green jobs will benefit regions most affected by unemployment

4 minutes read

Green Industry Jobs

A new study by the think tank Green Alliance suggests that more than 16,000 nature and green industry jobs could be created as part of the UK’s wider recovery plans, with regions facing the greatest employment challenges due to benefit the most.

According to the new report ‘jobs for a green recovery: levelling up through nature’, nearly 70% of the anticipated jobs could be developed in areas facing the greatest labour market challenges. This includes coastal regions impacted by shipyard closures, and more recently, by the impact of the pandemic on tourism trade and the hospitality industry. Communities like these are expected to be prime areas for seagrass planting. Over 90% of seagrass has been lost in the UK over the last century but the rapidly growing plant provides a rich habitat and represents an ideal solution to support the transition to net-zero and an important element to the biodiversity crisis. Wetland restoration projects are opportunities for job generation in coastal communities. The regions of Anglesey and Newport in Wales have been earmarked as ideal locations for wetland development.

There are also additional opportunities for tree planting in urban and rural locations according to the Green Alliance report. In particular, regions currently impacted by the fourth industrial revolution were highlighted in the study. This includes areas such as Durham, Wolverhampton and Ashfield.

WPI Economics generated its forecasts by studying employment data with maps determining the potential for nature restoration. The findings suggest that the jobs are a combination of entry-level positions, ideally suited for newly unemployed or those experiencing long periods of furlough. It also includes graduate-level roles, perfect for those starting in the market for the very first time, and especially individuals with research skills.

Patrick Begg, the outdoors and natural resources director of the National Trust explains that the research delivered is vital for showing that by investing in projects that support and prioritise a green recovery, the government can generate green jobs for the communities most in need of employment. Begg highlights that this move would accelerate the green journey and enable a more prosperous future for people and the planet.

The Green Alliance has warned that the forecast highlight in the report, along with the interactive map will only be possible to attain with enhanced government support. The think tank has indicated to recent figures suggesting the UK is off track to reach its commitment to protecting and improving nature, including missed targets for tree planting.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been urged to develop a ‘National Nature Service’ for people left unemployed by the pandemic, but the idea has not progressed. Funding, has, however, been allocated specifically to nature charities via a competitive fund known as the ‘Green Recovery Fund’. The Green Alliance, along with other organisations, has criticised this move, arguing that the level of funding is not high enough and the supporting allocation measures are not fit for purpose. After receiving significant attention, the Green Recovery Fund had to be revised and effectively doubled. The Green Alliance is concerned that the levelling up fund process used by the Government, currently standing at just under £5 billion is not sufficient to cover natural capital. The think tank is encouraging the Treasury to focus on environmental projects in the levelling up fund. Simultaneously, the Green Alliance is requesting further assurance that the new National Infrastructure Bank (NIB), due to launch this week, will include natural scope within its focus.

The NIB was announced at the end of last year and is anticipated to fill the position left by the European Investment Bank (EIB). Chancellor Sunak insists that the activities of the NIB will be by the UK’s net-zero targets. Earlier this month, Chris Grigg was selected as the chair of the group. Grigg is well known for his position as CEO of the British Land Plc.

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