Our area is fast becoming a global centre for the renewable energy sector and so I invited the Committee on a two day visit to the Blyth Valley constituency to see the great work happening to reduce emissions and bring new jobs.
The Committee were shown the work that the Blyth Tall Ship project is doing in supporting local culture as well as improving life chances for local people and the plans for a museum and cultural hub where people can come to learn about Blyth’s maritime history. At their workshop the project helps disadvantaged people in Blyth to take NVQs and 80 per cent of those involved have ended up in employment with new transferable skills.
We visited the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult to hear about testing cutting edge technology to accelerate the efficiency of offshore wind turbines - reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and overseas energy supplies. It’s the largest such facility in the world.
We had presentations by EDF who have a prototype floating wind installation off Blyth, JDR cables who make the undersea cables to bring the electricity generated to land and British Volt on why they have chosen the Blyth Estuary for their transformational investment. The general theme of this visit was how Blyth has a cluster of these new green industries and how they can work together.
The following day we visited the Northumbria Healthcare Sterilisation Unit next to Cramlington Hospital to see their sterilisation unit which serves all of the hospitals and medical centres in their area - making sure the instruments and equipment are safe.
This building was built by Cramlington based Merit Health who were the final destination of our tour and who explained their innovative offsite construction methods which reduce carbon emissions, overall costs and delivery times for specialist healthcare facilities in the NHS and pharmaceutical sector. This is a truly innovative business and I hope the Committee took home that Blyth Valley is well on the way to achieving the ambition of becoming a global centre of excellence for green technology.