The North has recently placed itself front and centre to find solutions for the biggest challenges that the infrastructure sector faces, hosting Interchange UK, Sub-national Transport Body Conference and Delivering the Hydrogen Economy events last week.

 

Tilly Clough attended the Delivering the Hydrogen Economy event, organised by The North West Hydrogen Alliance. Companies and industry experts such as BP, HyNet North West, Cadent, Drager and SSE, got together to discuss the important role that the North West will have in driving the hydrogen economy forward.

 

Here are our key takeaways and considerations from the event:

General Election: With the general election around the corner, how can we educate policymakers on the positives of hydrogen? With the political landscape ever changing, it is important to understand who, on all sides, support and understand the climate crisis and the importance of hydrogen.

It’s a global issue, but the solutions will be driven by local communities and there is a clear need to educate and inspire younger generations to continue on driving projects forward. The event heard how companies have leveraged video games to teach and inspire younger generations about hydrogen – making it accessible to all.

Supply vs Demand. Another theme from the Hydrogen event was the demand vs supply. Hydrogen demand is set to rise sharply over the next two decades, but major bottlenecks such as long permitting times, higher equipment costs and lack of access to capital could slow growth in supply.

 

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Ella Sanders and Chris Midgley attended the Sub-national Transport Body (STB) Conference and day two of Interchange UK, with Ella taking part in a round table event hosted by the Community Transport Association. The STB Conference, supported by the Department for Transport, brings together England’s seven STBs to speak with one voice and showcase where they add value and their role in enabling outcomes-focused and place-orientated transport investment decisions while facilitating joined up delivery.

 

Here are our key takeaways and considerations from the event:

Cross learning and collaboration: Described as a ‘golden age for public transport’ by Mayor Andy Burnham, the transportation sector is working closer than ever, through STBs, to deliver tangible benefits for communities and learn continuously from each other. The joined-up approach is bringing the need for reform in areas such as rail to the fore, and ensuring that opportunities for passenger and freight transport integration nationally, regionally and locally are not missed.

Engagement enables delivery: All STBs presented their flagship projects in delivery, sharing insight into their communities and the scale of engagement needed to acquire a social license to deliver on place-based basis. Karen Heppenstall from Midlands Connect shared that throughout the delivery of the £1.4bn Midlands Rail Hub, they would own the stakeholder engagement strategy. Pointing to the importance being placed on engagement to deliver a transport system that works for communities and the economy.

Uncertainty must not halt progress: As with the Hydrogen Economy event, the General Election and party policy were a consistent thread. There was consensus amongst the STBs that despite uncertainty, they will continue to work together to drive progression and that continued devolutions and collaboration with Combined Authorities can offer a route to certainty.

 

Many of the challenges highlighted during the events impact both energy and transportation, if you want to know more about how Copper can help you or discuss the events in more detail then contact ella.sanders@copperconsultancy.com and tilly.clough@copperconsultancy.com