Skip to content

Building on COP26 – Business Is Leading the Way

On the back of COP26, attention has rightly focused on the legacy that the event will lead behind, given the global challenges in meeting net zero. Recently, the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership arranged for a small delegation of businesses and members of the Futures Forum, its younger leaders group, to join them at an event looking specifically at the legacy left behind by COP26. It therefore seemed appropriate to ask Jo Lappin, Chief Executive of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, to outline how she saw Cumbria’s net zero future.

The LEP has a vision for the economy, which sees Cumbria as “The place to live, work, visit and invest sustainably - where exceptional industry and innovation meets a breathtakingly beautiful and productive landscape”. This vision is underpinned by three strategic touchstones - productivity, inclusive growth and net zero carbon – which guide’s activity and interventions. In taking forward the net zero carbon touchstone, Lappin is clear that the focus needs to be on action, which is underpinned by plans that are both ambitious and evidential rather than just ‘warm words’.

Cumbria is very well placed to lead the way on net zero, with Cumbria’s business base at the forefront of this. The LEP is therefore concentrating on the twin priorities of supporting new clean energy generation and helping Cumbria’s businesses to decarbonise their activities. Additionally, there is a commitment to support the decarbonisation of transport and to capitalise on the benefits of Cumbria’s world class natural capital, however, recognising that these will be led by other partners.

There is real potential for Cumbria to be a major generator of clean energy for the UK, building on the fact that it is already a net exporter of electricity to the grid, with the LEP committed to working in partnership to deliver new generation plans. These include developments of national scale and significance such as Cumbria’s case to host UKAEA’s competition for the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP), which if successful will bring to life the fusion opportunity creating clean, green, safe and abundant energy or working with the successful Round 4 licensees for the development of the next offshore wind farm. This is alongside working with partners to realise opportunities including Small Modular Reactors (SMRs); hydrogen generation and utilisation capability from a range of clean sources; and supporting smaller scale investments spanning onshore wind, solar, hydro and biomass. All of these opportunities will also supply significant supply chain opportunities for Cumbria’s advanced manufacturing sector.

In order to achieve net zero, businesses will also need to decarbonise and the LEP is working with business leaders to develop a 10 Point Plan for decarbonisation, which looks to address the most relevant issues facing businesses, including assessing carbon footprint, making the investment case and identifying the best solutions for individual businesses. The Plan will be launched in early 2022 with a major Business Decarbonisation Summit, which will include presentations by some of the businesses that have already made progress on their decarbonisation journey, such as Kingmoor Park with their 4-acre Solar Farm, saving of 250 tonnes of C02 per year, and James Cropper PLC who working with Burneside Community Energy support renewable energy and low carbon projects in Burneside.

However, in advance of the launch of the 10 Point Plan, the LEP stands ready to help businesses to access any support and guidance that they need on net zero, including how being a green business can create a competitive advantage in the marketplace alongside practical actions such as implementing cost and carbon cutting actions and how to develop the business case for investment.

Any business interested in benefitting from the LEP’s support on clean energy generation or decarbonising their activities can contact one of their dedicated Business Advisors on Freephone 0800 069 6444 or

Your login details have been used by another user or machine. Login details can only be used once at any one time so you have therefore automatically been logged out. Please contact your sites administrator if you believe this other user or machine has unauthorised access.