Hartlepool has taken the title of  'biggest net-zero economy in the North East'.

Analysis by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) shows almost 10% of Hartlepool’s economy is generated by businesses and jobs associated with net zero, generating more than £133m annually.

That compares to regional averages across the North East of 4.1% Even Hartlepool’s closest rival in North East - Redcar and Cleveland - has a net zero economy of 6.1% compared to Hartlepool’s  9.4% which makes it not just number one in the North East but ninth highest in the country overall.

The news tops more high-profile green centres - like Nissan in Sunderland and the Catapult Renewables Hub in Blyth, and a deep dive into the statistics shows it is Hartlepool’s nuclear plant which is at the core of that percentage, making an outsize contribution to one of the North East’s smaller local authorities compared to some of its neighbours.

Electricity, gas and steam supply work in Hartlepool is its largest net zero sector, pointing to its nuclear power plant being a major factor in the size of its green economy.

In the North East overall, the report reveals more than 29,000 jobs now lie in the net zero sector and the Gross Value Added (GVA) to the region’s economy is around £2.2 billion, (4% of the total).

While other areas of the UK can boast even more impressive figures, significantly, there is no North/South divide in terms of the spread of jobs or wealth associated with the sector.

So, a successful green transition could also prove to be an excellent way of levelling up - which could be good news for Hartlepool if more green jobs are in the pipeline.

A survey in 2019 placed Hartlepool among the poorest areas in the country with more than 20% of households in their communities among the most deprived in the UK - so the growing net zero economy might help to boost incomes and living standards too.

And local business leaders, politicians, as well as the public, are likely to hope the trend continues as the national report shows green jobs are good jobs.

The CBI report, researched by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, reveals the UK’s net zero industry grew 9% in 2023 compared to 0.1% growth in the economy overall and that jobs in the sector are better paid by almost £10,000 - the average net zero salary £44,600 compared to the £35,400 UK average.

The report analysed the green economy, including renewable energy, building energy efficiency, electric vehicles, carbon capture technology and green finance. It found thousands of new green companies were founded in 2023 and overall the sector was responsible for the production of £74bn in goods and services and 765,000 jobs.

Louise Hellem, chief economist at the CBI, said: “The transition to net zero presents unprecedented opportunities for the UK to become a more resilient and productive economy while also tackling climate change.”

Adriana Curca, manager of CBI Economics, said: “We quite often tend to think about the costs involved in the net zero transition, but there are a lot of economic opportunities, having a real potential to drive sustainable long-term growth.”