At least 5,000 jobs could be created from a £0.9 billion project to create a new ‘green’ source of gas to power local industry and heat homes in North West England, according to gas distribution network Cadent.

The company has today published details of the potential economic windfall set for the region through its HyNet project.

Its report explains how the North West will trailblaze a switch from a dependency on methane-rich natural gas to using more of low-carbon hydrogen.

First stages of a 30-year plan centre on a new hydrogen production facility planned for Cheshire, making gas for distribution locally and into Merseyside and Greater Manchester.

Central to HyNet is a promise to reduce carbon emissions by more than one million tonnes every year, or the equivalent of taking 600,000 cars off the road.

Cadent’s report reveals more than 5,000 jobs would be created between now and 2025, with thousands more to follow as more plants and pipelines come online later.

Up-and-running by the mid-2020s, it would be a UK-first large-scale use of hydrogen in this way, helping to solve Britain’s headache of how to decarbonise heat. At the same time, it could open the door for the use of hydrogen as a ‘clean’ fuel for buses, lorries and trains.

Simon Fairman, Director of Safety and Network Strategy at Cadent, said: “This is unquestionably one of the most exciting energy projects for the North West in years. We chose the region because it is already home to 10% of the UK’s biggest industrial users of gas, as well as it having an ideal site on the doorstep to store the carbon that’s produced in making hydrogen.

“HyNet will create and secure thousands of jobs – up to 80% locally – through the design, installation, construction and operation of the new hydrogen and carbon storage infrastructure needed. We’re talking huge numbers, but we’re also talking about a huge impact in solving a problem facing us all in the UK, how to decarbonise heat.

The full report can be accessed here.