News: Coastal leaders write to Chancellor seeking support for maritime decarbonisation


Local leaders from Belfast to Brighton, Dumfries to Devon and Swansea to Sussex have co-signed a letter calling on the Chancellor to invest £1bn in the maritime sector to kick-start a world-leading maritime decarbonisation programme, creating tens of thousands of new green jobs as part of a green industrial revolution.

The letter - signed by all the UK’s major maritime hubs - comes a day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Party Conference speech in which he set out his blue print for a ‘green industrial revolution’ and to invest £160m in ports and factories to manufacture the next generation of wind turbines.

The letter urges a more ambitious £1bn investment to kick-start a programme to completely decarbonise the maritime sector. Without doing so, the Government will not be able to meet its legally-binding net-zero emissions targets. The investment would help develop zero-emission vessels and green infrastructure to install and service new windfarms announced by the Prime Minister.

The investment would turbo-charge the UK’s maritime decarbonisation programme, creating over 74,000 ‘green collar jobs’ in ex-industrial and coastal towns and cities across the UK which have been hardest hit from the coronavirus pandemic. There is no better way of levelling-up than by backing this sector; hardwired into the DNA of our island nation.

Given that the lifespan of many vessels is around twenty years, zero-emission vessels will need to be in the water by the end of this decade, and the solutions are not yet viable. The funding would be spent on research and development and green infrastructure.

The maritime sector is predicted to be worth $3trn globally by 2030. But without investment now the UK’s share of the global market will shrink as other maritime nations – in Scandinavia and the Far East – continue to move ahead. The sector has burnt through vast sums of cash keeping Britain supplied with fuel, food and medicine as passenger volumes have shrunk through the COVID-19 crisis meaning Government support is critical.

Ben Murray, Director of Maritime UK, said:

“That this letter has been signed by mayors and council leaders from across the United Kingdom demonstrates the unique role that maritime plays across the whole country. Our Spending Review bid would create 74,000 well-paid, high-quality green collar jobs. And such is the nature of maritime, the vast majority of these would be in coastal towns and cities across the UK. There are very few sectors that can match maritime for its ability to level-up these communities. 

“The maritime sector supports the PM’s pledge to invest £160m into ports and factories to manufacture the next generation of wind turbines. But we want the Government to go further. The sector has been calling for £1bn of investment in the planned Spending Review to kickstart the green investment needed to decarbonise the maritime sector entirely. Without doing so, the UK cannot reach its net-zero commitments.

“The reality is that businesses have burnt through their cash reserves keeping Britain supplied with fuel, food and medicine throughout the COVID crisis. They simply don't have the capital to invest in green technology and infrastructure on their own. As these Mayors and Council Leaders have shown, backing maritime does more than simply support a single sector: it will help transform the fortunes of coastal towns and cities around the United Kingdom. It is therefore absolutely critical the sector gets the Government investment it requires, and now.”

Full list of signatories:

Harry Theochari

Chair, Maritime UK

Councillor Douglas Lumsden and Councillor Jenny Laing 

Co-Leaders, Aberdeen City Council


Councillor Trevor Cummings

Mayor, Ards and North Down Borough Council


Councillor Robin Currie 

Leader, Argyll and Bute Council


Councillor Dr James Walsh

Leader, Arun District Council

Councillor Vikki Slade

Leader, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council


Alderman Frank McCoubrey

Lord Mayor of Belfast 


Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty

Leader, Brighton and Hove City Council

Councillor Emlyn Dole

Leader, Carmarthenshire County Council


Councillor Sam Rowlands

Leader, Conwy County Borough Council

Councillor Julian German

Leader, Cornwall Council

Councillor Stewart Young

Leader, Cumbria County Council 


Councillor John Hart

Leader, Devon County Council 

Councillor Elaine Murray

Leader, Dumfries and Galloway Council

Councillor John Alexander

Leader, Dundee City Council

Councillor Simon Henig

Leader, Durham County Council


Councillor Tony Buchanan

Leader, East Renfrewshire Council

Councillor Seán D T Woodward

Executive Leader, Fareham Borough Council

Councillor Altany Craik

Convener – Economy, Tourism, Strategic Planning & Transportation Committee, Fife Council 

Councillor Keith Mans

Leader, Hampshire County Council

Councillor Margaret Davidson

Leader, The Highland Council

Councillor Stephen Brady

Leader, Hull City Council

Councillor Stephen McCabe

Leader, Inverclyde Council


Mayor Steve Rotheram

Mayor, Liverpool City Region


Councillor Mark Pritchard

Chair of the Mersey Dee Alliance and Leader of Wrexham County Borough Council


Mayor Councillor Peter Johnston

Mayor, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council

Councillor Nick Forbes

Leader, Newcastle City Council

Councillor David Worden

Leader, North Devon Council

Councillor Philip Jackson

Leader, North East Lincolnshire Council

Councillor Sarah Bütikofer

Leader, North Norfolk District Council

Mayor Jamie Driscoll

Mayor, North of Tyne Combined Authority

Mayor Norma Redfearn CBE

Mayor, North Tyneside

Councillor Peter Jackson

Leader, Northumberland County Council

Councillor James Stockan

Leader, Orkney Islands Council  

Councillor Murray Lyle

Leader, Perth & Kinross Council

Councillor Tudor Evans

Leader, Plymouth City Council

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson  

Leader, Portsmouth City Council 

Councillor Steven Coutts

Leader, Shetland Islands Council

Councillor Christopher Hammond

Leader, Southampton City Council

Councillor Iain Malcolm

Leader, South Tyneside Council

Councillor Rob Stewart

Leader, City and County of Swansea Council


Councillor Gordon Hook

Leader, Teignbridge District Council


Councillor Rick Everitt

Leader, Thanet District Council


Mayor Tim Bowles 

Mayor, West of England Combined Authority 


Councillor Paul Marshall 

Leader, West Sussex County Council 

Councillor Pat Hackett 

Leader, Wirral Council

Councillor Llinos Medi

Leader, Ynys Môn Council