THE Tees Valley could become a world leader in clean growth following Government’s announcement of £170m funding to create a carbon “net-zero” hub of heavy industry, it has been claimed.

At the COP24 climate talks in Poland earlier this week, Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry launched a mission to create the world’s first “net-zero” cluster by 2040, with the Tees Valley named as one of the areas in the UK which could benefit.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said the region’s ambitions mirror those of the UK Government, to provide clean technology, tackle climate change and safeguard and create high-quality jobs by using hydrogen and innovative processes such as Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS).

The announcement came just a fortnight after it was revealed a world-first multibillion-pound energy project would be developed in the region, backed by OG Climate Investments, a consortium of six of the world’s biggest energy giants.

Branded the Clean Gas Project, it will be the world’s first gas-powered energy plant to fully deploy full-chain CCUS at scale, meaning carbon dioxide from Teesside industry will be captured and then stored via pipelines under the North Sea.

Mr Houchen said: “My vision is for the Tees Valley to become the clean growth capital of the UK and we are in pole position to deliver on that.

“We’ve got a commercial project ready to go, which other regions don’t have, we’ve got leading industry working together as part of a cluster, we’ve got our own significant plans under way and we are a key part of the UK’s Local Industrial Strategy.

“Today’s announcement reaffirms Government’s clear commitment to our region and we expect a substantial amount of that funding to come our way. We will be grabbing this opportunity with both hands.”

Ms Perry said: “Demonstrating climate action and growing the economy go hand in hand is key to building momentum behind global action on carbon.

"The UK is a leader in both, cutting our emissions by more than 40 per cent while growing our economy by two-thirds, but to sustain this track record we need to tackle emissions from energy intensive sectors and bring clean growth to our great industrial centres."