Lancashire polymers giant in plea for county to be included in new hydrogen gas networks
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Bosses at Victrex, which produces specialist plastics and films for use in a wide range of sectors worldwide, has written to MPs to get them to make sure new gas infrastructure is rolled a out across the county as soon as possible.
Plans are afoot now for the production of hydrogen to replace natural gas methane under the £750m HyNet North West programme with sites earmarked for Merseyside.
Cadent, which looks after the gas pipelines in the region, is preparing for the use of hydrogen as the UK starts to move away from greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide-emitting methane in years to come.
But with initial schemes looking set to supply only the immediate area near the refinery at Ellesmere Port, Victrex and others are concerned that Lancashire will be left behind, putting companies at a global disadvantage.
Thornton-based Victrex, which has already set a 2030 carbon net zero goal, said firms will need access to hydrogen but grids currently proposed are in the Cheshire area and potentially in Cumbria – bypassing major employers in Lancashire.
Victrex is a major UK exporter (98 per cent of sales non-UK) serving household names in electronics, automotive, aerospace, energy and medical and with around 900 employees globally, three-quarters in the UK.
It added that industries such as chemicals and defence were large employers in Lancashire specifically and so it was critical that these companies would be able to tap into hydrogen grids.
Jakob Sigurdsson, Chief Executive of Victrex, said: “For companies like Victrex, and others in the wider Chemicals and manufacturing sectors, access to alternative fuels like hydrogen will be needed in order to support future carbon reduction plans – plans which are vital to the UK government’s own climate change targets
“Hi-tech industries like Chemicals have a key role to play not just in the UK, but globally – indeed being able to demonstrate to our global customers in Europe, Asia and the US that we can deliver our ambitious carbon reduction goals will partly hinge on using hydrogen as a fuel source.
“We’ve explained to ministers that a number of key industries in the UK like Chemicals and Defence could be left behind or at a disadvantage to overseas competitors unless they are able to access future hydrogen grids.
"It’s vital that we can utilise alternative fuels and can start to consider their potential in our own investment plans before grids are developed.”