HICP Societal Challenges and Innovation Workshop

Understanding the Humber region as it moves towards decarbonisation.

Understanding the Humber region as it moves towards decarbonisation.


A wide range of stakeholders from the Humber region were invited to participate in a workshop contributing to the Humber Industrial Cluster plan. The day focussed on understanding the key socio-cultural opportunities, barriers and challenges to decarbonisation within the Humber as well as helping the HICP project understand the wider stakeholder base with which to engage with as the project progresses. Beyond this, the session focussed on;

  • How do these opportunities, barriers and challenges vary across different decarbonisation technologies such as fuel switching, carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) and greenhouse gas removal (GGR)?
  • What are the social and cultural factors that may influence how different segments of the public perceive industrial decarbonisation in the Humber?
  • What existing mechanisms / networks / organisations can be utilised to hear and incorporate diverse community voices into the study?
  • Are all social and cultural groups represented within these mechanisms, and what cultural and societal barriers and opportunities influence their participation?

The session was facilitated by HICP contractor ERM, and were supported by representatives from Sheffield Hallam University. A breadth of industries and sectors attended the workshop with public, private, volunteer, academia and special interest groups all being represented at the in-person event hosted at the Aura Business Centre at the Bridgehead Business Park, Hessle.  

Jonathan Oxley, the HICP Manager, introduced the day and the HICP project itself before ERM began the workshop proceedings. The day was highly interactive and included a variety of visual aids around the room, such as the Humber Industrial Cluster Map and a timeline displaying the industrial history of the Humber region with some of its key historic milestones.

Participants were invited to share their thoughts on decarbonisation in the Humber, drawing on cues from the visual aids as well as their own experiences, and to capture these on Post-It notes which were then curated by ERM to highlight some of key recurring themes. These themes then set the context for the day and acted as pillars to build and encourage conversations  with a continued focus on the primary decarbonisation technologies and how these present challenges and opportunities to the participants’ specific sectors.

The workshop highlighted several positive considerations within the Humber region, including the potential for job creation and economic growth, the overall decarbonisation of the region, along with the opportunity for the Humber to be a world leader. These views were balanced against concerns such as, the need to provide a sustainable and manageable transition of industry and how current skills can be developed within the area. Other areas to examine included the effect on the unique natural environment within the Humber and how this can be protected, and in some cases support, decarbonisation using natural source sequestration methods.

The day concluded with the participants being invited to share a single word on their thoughts following the workshop activities which drew responses such as “Excited”, “Conflicted” and “Optimistic” before the day was closed with some final reflections from Jonathan Oxley.

The HICP Project Manager, Jonathan Oxley, commented “The workshop was a huge success that brought together a broad range of stakeholders from a number of different sectors. The session was constructive and insightful and allowed the participants to share a diverse range of views on decarbonisation within Humber region”

Rebecca Campbell, Project Manager and Senior Stakeholder and Sustainability Consultant at ERM said “It was brilliant to have such an engaged group contributing a range of views on this challenging subject. Understanding the social and cultural aspects of industrial decarbonisation is critical to supporting a low carbon energy transition in the Humber, and the group who met on 23 March offered expert opinions on how we can engage the public on this matter in a way that is effective and representative. I am truly grateful to all who attended and who offered their insights.”