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Low carbon economy

Low carbon in the North East

Industry, technologies and coal from the North East of England powered the global industrial revolution of the last century and is now firmly at the heart of the emerging low carbon technology revolution.

The North East's low carbon capabilities are growing and reinforcing the area's credentials as a home for low carbon businesses and an ideal destination for inward investment.


Offshore wind

The offshore wind industry is an important source of future energy supply for the UK. The UK is the world leader in offshore wind with more projects installed, in planning and in construction than any other country in the world. By 2020 at least 20,000 MW of offshore wind is expected to be installed and operating in UK waters.

As momentum towards a low-carbon economy accelerates worldwide, South Tyneside has positioned itself as the best place to build low carbon businesses and to equip those businesses to compete in the global market for low-carbon goods and services.

The River Tyne's location at the heart of the largest planned Round 3 wind farm zone, positioned directly off the region's coast, represents a major opportunity for energy companies, developers, turbine manufacturers and installation specialists.

Geographical proximity to the UK market

The River Tyne is in close proximity to three of the Round 3 zones; Hornsea (86nm), Fifth of Forth (67nm) and the largest site Dogger Bank (98nm); it is therefore ideally located to service these sites.

Excellent labour availability and skills support

Tyneside and the surrounding areas have a long history in electrical and mechanical engineering; particularly in the marine and offshore sectors. The transferable skills related to these traditional industries can provide a readymade workforce to any organisation operating in the offshore wind market.

Working with JobCentre Plus, Skills Funding Agency and further and higher education establishments, we are able to respond to your recruitment and skills needs by providing tailored packages of support.

The Port of Tyne

The Port of Tyne is a principal northern gateway to the UK and a key port in the North East region and North Sea.

For more information visit Port of Tyne

Existing industrial base

There is a strong supply chain with extensive experience of supporting marine and offshore sectors.

Excellent infrastructure

Easy rail, road, air and sea access from Tyneside to the rest of the UK, Europe and destinations worldwide.


The North East is the national centre of excellence for renewable energy. Located at Blyth just north of the Tyne, Narec is the national centre for research in renewable.

It can provide R&D, test and demonstration facilities for the new and renewable power sectors, and is a national centre dedicated to accelerating the development of grid integration of renewable energy and low carbon technologies.

For more information visit Narec

Low Carbon Economic Area

South Tyneside is one of the locations within the designated Low Carbon Economic Area for the manufacture of ultra low carbon vehicles.

Our people

A high level of skills, flexibility and professional loyalty are some of the most important attributes of the Tyneside workforce, which has proved to be responsive in meeting the needs of the borough's business sectors.

A willingness to adapt to the introduction of new technologies and working procedures has been paralleled by improvements in productivity. The friendliness and strong work ethic of the area's people have been major factors in attracting new investment. Wages and salaries are competitive with other UK regions with high levels of employee retention.

Workforce and skills

The availability of appropriate skills is a critical factor in the successful future development of offshore wind related activity in Tyneside.

The area already has one of the strongest pools of relevant technician and production level, and graduate and post graduate engineering level, skills in the UK.

This availability has been amply demonstrated in the current success of manufacturing and production in the region, with companies such as Nissan with Europe's most productive car plant and as the UK's biggest exporter, PB Power with its world-wide reputation for power engineering, AMEC which operates its main base for process and energy engineering and Siemens operating in the energy and IT sectors from the region.

The availability and quality of this workforce has attracted some significant investments in recent years in the low carbon economy, such as Nissan EV and Battery manufacturing, won in the face of world wide competition, and Ensus' £400m process investment. Hitachi has also selected the region as its primary manufacturing centre for the next generation of high speed trains, complementing many other companies that have announced new investments in the low carbon economy.

Leading Europe in new skills development

The region is now building on these existing strengths, by establishing one of the leading training and education capabilities in Europe for the low carbon economy.

At the level of technician and production skills the National Skills Academy for Sustainable Manufacturing and Production is now being built on Tyneside; Northumberland College, and South Tyneside College, with its unrivalled maritime reputation, are developing European-leading qualifications for offshore wind construction, while Newcastle College is establishing new capacity explicitly focused on the manufacture of offshore wind equipment.

At the graduate and post-graduate levels; Newcastle University is building on its reputation as one the world's leading marine engineering universities by establishing the Institute of Sustainability, Northumbria University is building on its world leading design education centre, and Sunderland is expanding its major capabilities in transport engineering.

Of great significance for the future, the region is now developing the most extensive new capability in the UK for graduate engineering education, explicitly to meet the demands of new green industries. New University provision is being planned to generate 500 additional engineering graduates per year.

The North East is renowned for its extensive industrial activity, with manufacturing remaining as the cornerstone of the regional economy. The region has an extensive workforce ready to undertake the challenge of offshore wind activity.

Engineering and manufacturing have traditionally been strong features of the North East economy. Today the number of employees working in the sector account for 12.5% of the workforce, compared with 10.9% at the national level.


Around 62,000 people work in the engineering sector in North East England, accounting for almost 6% of all employees in the region and consisting of:

  • 5,580 employed in the manufacture of basic metals
  • 14,467 employed in the manufacture of fabricated metal products, except machinery and equipment
  • 15,844 employed in the manufacture of machinery and equipment not elsewhere classified
  • 6,029 employed in the manufacture of electrical machinery and apparatus not elsewhere classified
  • 1,663 employed in the manufacturing of radio, television and communication equipment and apparatus
  • 2,435 employed in the manufacture of medical, precision and optical instruments, watches and clocks
  • 12,939 employed in the manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers
  • 3,065 employed in the manufacture of transport equipment

Supply of skills

The region has an excellent range of degree and other learning pathways for people entering the sector, as well as opportunities for the existing workforce in the region.

Reflecting both the region's industrial profile and the strong interest in science amongst young people, the Region's schools, FE and HE providers place a great deal of importance on STEM programmes as pathways into the emerging future employment opportunities. These include foundation degrees in engineering disciplines that are offered at a number of education providers across the region.

Our regional FE Colleges and training providers have a long history of excellent vocational and work-based training, with high levels of expertise in skills training and development for the sector including:

  • Marine Engineering
  • Aerospace and Allied Engineering Technologies
  • Automotive Technology
  • Engineering Construction
  • Mechatronics
  • Multi-Skilled Systems Maintenance Engineering
  • Specialised Engineering for the Process and Manufacturing Industries
  • Technical and Design Engineering
  • Electrical and Mechancial Engineering
  • Marine Safety

This history of excellent provision is being taken further with a number of the region's Colleges and training providers involved in the National Skills Academies programme and the Training Quality Standards initiative.

The five major universities - Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria, Sunderland and Teeside - have a combined total of over 50 departments rated 5 or 5* in the most recent research assessment exercise.

The region's 5 universities plus the Open University offer:

  • Almost 40 Masters level courses, including Mechanical and Systems Engineering, Design Manufacturing and Management, Renewable Energy and Clean Technology and Process Manufacturing Management
  • Almost 50 different undergraduate degrees that are relevant to this sector, including General Engineering, Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Automotive Design and Technology.

There are 1,000 or more people graduating in the region each year with relevant degrees and masters qualification, along with many others who have taken different routes to achieve a higher qualification for work in the sector. This represents an impressive and effective skills supply chain for the North East.

There is a large potential pool of graduates for the region's employers or inward investors seeking graduates with a broad engineering knowledge, most of how will have specialised toward the end of their course. Many students do go on to MSc and other post-graduate studies.

Supply chain

The North East has the UK's most developed supply chain with well over £150 million orders from offshore wind already achieved and some of the UK's leading suppliers.

The region benefits from a strong supply chain with extensive experience of supporting marine and offshore sectors.

Over 250 companies based in the North East either have an existing commitment to offshore wind supply, or have a strong potential to diversify from existing activity. Specifically, the Tyne now hosts a number of important offshore supply companies, including IHC Engineering Business (part of I Merwede), SMD (Soil Machine Dynamics), Duco, Wellstream, McNulty Offshore, A & P Tyne and Newcastle Marine Design Centre. NAREC is also situated within 20km of the river.

Strengthening existing relationships and identifying new companies to play a role in the offshore wind supply chain is an important activity that will be further developed in partnership with the private sector by the relevant Local Authorities and the North Eastern Local Enterprise Partnership.

Development site - Jarrow Riverside

The Jarrow Riverside site has a long industrial past and the potential to provide tomorrow's business space.

The site lies to the west of the Viking Business Park with adjoining business premises including Jarrow Business Centre, the Eco Centre, and Clarendon House. The site is accessed via Blackett Street (B1297) providing easy access to the A19 and Tyne Tunnel.

  • Site area
    A 5.3 hectare (13 acres) site with a net developable employment land area of 3.56 hectare (8.8 acres).
  • Planning status
    Uses B1, B2 and B8 are proposed in the Site Specific Allocations publication draft.
  • Land ownership
    South Tyneside Council - the disused Jarrow Staiths is jointly owned by the Council and the Crown Estate
  • Timescale
    The site is vacant and is available immediately

Options are currently being investigated to bring the site forward for business and industrial development and the developing low carbon sector. Our Masterplan identifies how 10,000 sqm of industrial and office space could be accommodated at the site. Detailed planning permission was approved in 2009 for a scheme of remediation and infrastructure at the site. The scheme includes access and service roads, utilities, remediation and a development platform. It was costed at £4.8 million (in 2009) to deliver a CEEQUAL Excellent scheme. 

For further information contact the Regeneration Team on (0191) 424 7596 or email

Energy efficiency for your business

South Tyneside Council’s Asset Management Service can help you with your energy management, delivering you financial savings and reductions in carbon emissions!

Energy efficiency services

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  • Business Employment & Skills Service
  • Town Hall & Civic Offices
    Westoe Road
    South Shields
    Tyne & Wear
    United Kingdom
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