To receive Cabinet’s response to Economic Prosperity Sub-Committee’s Report on Green Skills for Retrofit Jobs.
A report was received which sought approval to Cabinet’s response to the recommendations identified in the Green Skills for Retrofit Jobs report, produced by the Green Skills Sub-Group which was appointed by the Economic Prosperity Sub-Committee of the Overview, Scrutiny and Policy Development Committee and presented to Cabinet on 23 May 2022 (Previous Minute CAB5/22).
In determining its work programme for 2021/22 the Economic Prosperity Sub-Committee agreed to appoint a Sub-Group to examine the Authority’s approach to adapting to a green industrial revolution and ensuring people had the right skills for the future green jobs.
The Sub-Committee subsequently appointed the Green Skills Sub-Group, drawn from members of the Economic Prosperity Sub-Committee, Environment Sub-Committee and Children, Education and Skills Sub-Committee, to:
a) consider the steps required to ensure residential, public, commercial, and industrial buildings in the Borough have the lowest possible carbon emissions to support the Authority’s 2030 net-zero ambition.
b) analyse the skills, qualifications, and accreditations that will need to be gained by the local workforce so that:
i. they are equipped to deliver energy efficient buildings;
ii. the need for imported skills is avoided; and
iii. the Borough benefits from the low carbon economic growth;
c) identify sources of funding that could be accessed for skills and training from a variety of sources to support the local economy; and
d) make recommendations to the Elected Mayor and Cabinet on how the Authority and its partners might stimulate the local training market so that the required skills, qualifications, and accreditations can be taught to our residents by North Tyneside based providers.
The Green Skills Sub-Group held a series of evidence gathering meetings with officers and key stakeholders during January and February 2022 and, also had regard to a wealth of policy documents and research papers which have been published in relation to decarbonising the built environment and the skills and jobs that will be required to deliver it.
Cabinet received the report of the Economic Prosperity Sub-Committee’s Green Skills Sub-Group on Green Skills for Retrofit Jobs on 23 May 2022 which set out a series of recommendations for Cabinet to consider.
The ten recommendations in the report were extensive and complex. At its meeting on 27 June 2022 (Previous Minute CAB18/22), Cabinet agreed to receive a further report and to provide a response to the recommendations on 1 August 2022, thus allowing additional time for the recommendations to be fully considered by Cabinet and appropriate officers.
In introducing the report, the Deputy Mayor thanked the members of the Green Skills Sub-Group who produced their detailed report and recommendations, and the officers and organisations who supported them in the development of the report.
He stated that the Elected Mayor and Cabinet recognised the importance that retrofitting of buildings had to the Authority’s Carbon Net-Zero 2030 journey, including improving energy efficiency, generating renewable energy and providing low carbon heat. That was why we have supported a range of retrofitting projects to the Authority’s operational buildings and housing stock, both Council and private houses. The significant investment the Authority had made in the build environment had helped to reduce the carbon footprint of the Authority by 53% and the carbon footprint of the Borough by 47%. However, more would need to be done to move us towards our Carbon Net-Zero 2030 target.
The electricity and gas that was used in homes and businesses across the Borough accounted for 62% of the Borough’s carbon footprint. Gas in particular, making up 45% of the Borough’s carbon footprint, was a major concern and continued to be a challenge to reduce.
The recommendations in this report had been carefully considered and where possible were proposed to be accepted by Cabinet and had been built into the Authority’s Carbon Net-Zero 2030 Action Plan, which was also considered by Cabinet tonight. The recommendations were proposed to be delivered through an ambitious programme of work as set out in the Carbon Net-Zero 2030 Action Plan and, also through a significant piece of work currently being undertaken with the North of Tyne Combined Authority, which was detailed in Cabinet’s response to the recommendations.
As we continued to decarbonise our homes and economy, there was a growing demand for new skills, sectors and jobs and the recommendations addressed this. It was imperative that the Authority worked collaboratively with key partners, stakeholders, and sectors to deliver on the Authority’s 2030 commitments and to make sure people had the right skills and that the Authority bring more good quality jobs to North Tyneside. Decarbonising the Borough was a great challenge, but it also brought with it opportunities and the Authority was determined to be well positioned to capitalise on those opportunities.
It was proposed that all bar one of the Green Skills Sub-Group recommendations be recommended for approval; on the recommendation suggesting Cabinet reject, the Authority’s support for the general policy thrust of the recommendation and simply made it clear for Cabinet and the Study Group that this was something beyond the power of North Tyneside Council but well within the influence, and already in the thinking of the Mayor and Cabinet of the North of Tyneside Combined Authority.
Cabinet considered the following decision options: to accept the recommendations set out in paragraph 1.2 of the report; or, to not accept the recommendations and provide an alternative response to the report at the meeting.
Resolved that the response to the recommendations of the Economic Prosperity Sub-Committee’s Green Skills Sub-Group report on Green Skills for Retrofit Jobs, as set out in the Appendix to the report, be agreed.
(Reason for decision: The proposed response is a proportionate and considered response to the recommendations made in the Economic Prosperity Sub-Committee’s Green Skills Sub-Group report.)