MIPIM | Fairclough aims to position Liverpool area as ‘region of the future’
“Everyone knows us for our music and our heritage,” Fairclough told Place North West. “We have a great history and a great legacy. But we are also a real innovator in health and life sciences in the UK. There’s a real opportunity being created in digital and manufacturing.”
For her, MIPIM is a chance to showcase what she describes as “oven-ready” projects that are ripe for investment, such as the £54m Glass Futures development in St Helens and hydrogen energy scheme HyNet North West.
“It’s really important that people hear about the work that’s going on across the region and the opportunities for investment,” she said. “But also important is to position Liverpool City Region as the region of the future.”
Throughout her rounds of speaking at panels during MIPIM on Tuesday, Fairclough played up the region’s potential to play a strong role in the UK’s ambitions to be net zero by 2050. When asked at one panel if she felt the 2050 goal was achievable, she countered that it would be only if there was a joined-up approach between national government, local authorities and citizens.
For the UK to reach its goal, she argued that the government needs to craft a legislative framework that incentivises change, whether that’s in planning or building regulations.
On the local authority level, there needs to be a clear strategy on how to get to net zero. “For us, it is around public transport, retrofitting housing and building the skills to deliver that new type of green economy and green jobs,” Fairclough said.
The Liverpool City Region – which has set its own target of 2040 – needs to therefore focus on developing opportunities around manufacturing centres, she continued, as well as training people and using modular build techniques. “All those sorts of initiatives really drive change,” she said.
And that change needs to happen.
“It’s the biggest challenge of our generation I would say,” she argued, adding that action needs to happen now.
“There’s a tendency with net zero to focus just on the end rather than the steps needed along the way,” she told Place. “When you start to map out those steps, organisations and individuals begin to realise how big a task it is.”
Liverpool City Region has the potential to help when it comes to sustainable energy, with Fairclough saying the authority is dedicated to “maximising the opportunities” from wind, solar and tidal energy – especially around the Mersey Tidal Power Project, one of the key schemes Fairclough is seeking to attract international investment for.
But it is not the only project Fairclough believes will attract international money.
“In every one of our towns and cities there are investment opportunities,” she said. “We really want to bring that forward.”
She also spoke often at MIPIM about Liverpool’s freeport, which she said was key to the whole Liverpool City Region and net zero story.
“I think that it is a really unique opportunity,” she said. “If you think about our ambitions around net zero, our opportunities to innovate and those skills and workforce opportunities we have – the freeport really brings that together in a coherent strategy for change and that is a real USP for us in particular.”
MIPIM runs through 18 March in Cannes. Stay up-to-date on the latest news from the conference at the Place North West MIPIM hub.
Place North West MIPIM 2022 coverage is sponsored by Castle Green Homes.