Research finds more than 16,000 new jobs can be created through coastal restoration, tree planting and urban green spaces across areas with the greatest employment challenges, particularly in the ‘Red Wall’, with more green jobs across Britain.
Research commissioned by think tank Green Alliance has found significant potential for new green jobs in areas with the greatest challenges to the local labour market.
The research, conducted by WPI Economics, found that investment and raised ambition in nature restoration could create at least 16,000 new jobs across the 126 British constituencies facing the most significant employment challenges coming out of the pandemic.
Many of these constituencies are to be found in areas often identified as the Red Wall, and include County Durham, Copeland, Wolverhampton and Ashfield. Improving the quality and quantity of urban parks could create 11,000 jobs in the constituencies with the greatest labour market challenges, which also contain some of the most limited access to green spaces.
The research found further opportunities for creating green jobs across Britain. Coastal communities with potential for seagrass planting (explained below), such as the Isle of Wight, have a higher proportion of people on furlough and more challenging employment prospects, indicating investment in these jobs could boost nature and the local economy post-pandemic.
Restoring wetlands and seagrass meadows could create jobs in Welsh coastal communities, such as Anglesey and Newport, while underemployment and lower forecast job growth across the Pennines could be tackled through peatland restoration initiatives.
Two thirds of the best land for tree planting can be found in constituencies with higher than average labour market challenges, with 112,000 hectares of this land in Red Wall areas.
To define and locate green job potential, WPI matched employment data at constituency level with maps identifying the potential for nature restoration across a range of categories: woodland creation, peatland restoration, new urban green spaces and coastal restoration. The green jobs identified tackle challenging aspects of the post-coronavirus labour market: entry level roles for the newly unemployed or those on long term furlough from hospitality or customer service; and graduate level roles for those entering the labour market, such as in digital mapping or research.