Government must give bold hydrogen scheme the go-ahead, says UNISON

Reduce carbon emissions and create thousands of jobs

Converting homes and businesses to run on hydrogen rather than natural gas could help substantially reduce the UK’s carbon emissions, create thousands of new jobs and provide a much welcome boost to the economy, says UNISON today (Friday).

The union, which represents thousands of workers employed in the energy sector, was responding to the H21 North of England report. This sets out plans for how millions of homes and thousands of firms could start being converted to hydrogen from 2028.

Commenting on the report, UNISON national officer for energy Matt Lay said: “This is the future. It’s the clean energy supply that could make a positive difference to the environment, and secure jobs in the sector for years to come.

“But any significant change clearly won’t come cheap. That’s why the government must get behind this initiative, and give the go ahead to allow this sensible scheme to get off the ground.

“A mass conversion to hydrogen, beginning in the north and eventually spreading to the entire country, might be a little disruptive for households and businesses. But bold decisions like this are the only way we will keep homes warm, ensure the lights stay on and preserve the environment for future generations to enjoy.”

Notes to editors:
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union, with more than 1.3 million members providing public services – in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in both the public and private sectors.
– The proposals contained in the H21 North of England report would become the world’s largest CO2 emissions reduction project. It would see 3.7 million homes and 40,000 businesses across the North of England – including Leeds, Newcastle, Manchester and Liverpool – converted to hydrogen, starting in 2028.
– The report has been produced by Northern Gas Networks in partnership with Cadent and Norwegian energy company Equinor.
– The UK is committed to reducing its carbon emissions to at least 80% of 1990 levels by 2050.

Media contacts:
Liz Chinchen T: 0207 121 5463 M: 07778 158175 E: l.chinchen@unison.co.uk
Anna Mauremootoo T: 0207 121 5555 M: 07903 870786 E: a.mauremootoo@unison.co.uk