Today I unveiled my vision for a new green Tees Bay, centred on ambitious plans to transform the old SSI Teesworks site into a powerhouse of potential that will make this area the leader of the next industrial revolution.
And my vision is not to just create a pioneering Net Zero Industrial Park that puts us in the forefront of clean, green technology creating 10,000 jobs but also to transform the entire area, to landscape it, to open it up and make it into a leisure facility for our people to enjoy and a tourist attraction that will help attract visitors and help spark a tourist boom that can create another 28,000 jobs across the Tees. That excites me.
I have been working with planners and architects and businesses in the area to look at what is possible and we have a unique opportunity now to reimagine the entire Bay area, pushing ahead to secure the jobs of the future but also to bring the area back to life for our people.
A massive Net Zero Industrial Park is key to putting a future-proofed Tees Valley at the cutting edge in the coming boom in renewables, carbon capture, hydrogen and electric vehicles but the area will can also be an important leisure resource and will include a unique steel heritage trail centred around the iconic heart of the old blast furnace.
The Tees needs not just a free port but a Green Port and a wider Green Tees Bay to unleash the next industrial revolution. I will deliver the infrastructure required for an expanded carbon capture usage and storage cluster, working closely with local industry experts.
We will develop innovative new hydrogen-based technologies with significant global commercial potential, and back crucial clean steel research, development and production to help meet the challenges of the global climate emergency.
I will champion our area’s expanding low-carbon sector with a Green Industrial Park and Green Fund for Net-Zero business investment and infrastructure, offering land and investment to green industries and will sit at the heart of my climate economy strategy.
Over four years, the fund will put resources behind workable projects, pilots and innovation. The former SSI site and port area will become home to wind turbine, hydrogen, a gigafactory making batteries and fast charging tech for new electric vehicles and a 300 acre publicly owned solar farm that will generate power for home and generate £10m a year that will fund other green projects.
And to ensure we have the skills to meet the challenge of the future I will create an army of 10,000 workers trained for the jobs in these climate industries, renewables and the mass retrofitting of public buildings and the roll out of charging points.
My vision also includes ambitious plans to reshape the surrounding area as a woodland park, fantastic leisure resource and celebration of the landscape and our past.
There are three miles of almost undiscovered land along the Tees Bay normally only seen by a small group of hardy walkers and birdwatchers. We will connect paths, cycle tracks and roads from South Gare and Coatham to make it accessible for all.
We will open it up as a nature reserve, a woodland park with 80,000 new trees planted over 100 acres and create a leisure facility with mountain biking and zip wires, a science discovery centre, cafes and other facilities built in repurposed shipping containers.
And alongside the industry of the future there will be a celebration of the industry of the past. We will create a world first sculpture trail that celebrates our heritage, marking out the steel-making process and leading to the iconic Blast Furnace, which I have long campaigned to save. That will be reimagined and illuminated and it will be a powerful symbol of not just our industrial roots but also a new future as a tourist destination.
The new Tees woodland part and steel heritage trail will be part of my drive to make the new Tees a go-to destination which along with new attractions like a virtual reality theme park in Hartlepool and a VR railway heritage centre at Darlington will help create 28,000 jobs in tourism. This is an exciting vision of the future we can shape for ourselves.