BUSINESS leaders have launched a major campaign to help North Wales reach Net Zero status.

The driving force is the North Wales Mersey Dee Business Council which has brought together some of the region’s most forward-thinking entrepreneurs working collectively to achieve a greener future.

Among their aims is to jointly lobby governments, local authorities and key figures in industry to further invest in the development of carbon-neutral technologies.

Around 30 local enterprises contributed to the inaugural Net Zero North Wales meeting at the Conwy Business Centre in Llandudno Junction, with some attending in person and others virtually.

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They included some of the region’s Net Zero leaders – companies with a track record of working to reduce their carbon footprint while improving productivity at the same time.

The campaign will focus on several key areas for businesses and not for profit organisations, including the development of low carbon and renewable energy supplies.

This will include looking at hydrogen as a potential fuel source, improving electric vehicle recharging infrastructure, on-site or local energy generation, energy efficiency and retrofit schemes for properties.

They will also look for ways to help the transport sector become less carbon reliant, and for the fostering of a ‘circular economy’ to reduce waste and advance recycling schemes.

Business Council chief executive Ashley Rogers said by working together North Wales companies and not for profit organisations presented a stronger voice as they pursue crucial goals to keep the local and global environment safe for future generations.

North Wales Chronicle: Ashley Rogers, commercial director of the Business Council.Ashley Rogers, commercial director of the Business Council.

Many local businesses had already received recognition for work they have put in towards becoming carbon neutral, such as through the use of solar technologies at their premises, use of electric vehicles and introduction of recycling protocols.

Mr Rogers said: “They are widely recognised as local pioneers in promoting clean energy and sustainable production methods which still retain profitability.

“We can all learn from their experiences and from each other as we go forward.

“This is the basic concept behind the Net Zero North Wales network and we are calling on organisations across the region to get involved”

Among those at the inaugural meeting was Anglesey Sea Zoo owner Frankie Hobro, who has been outspoken about the need to attain Net Zero status since she took over the zoo more than a decade ago.

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With a career background in island conservation management, she made becoming carbon neutral a business priority and recognised the potential of using the zoo’s green credentials as a successful marketing tool.

She turned the zoo into the first fully solar powered aquarium in the UK and switched the focus from tropical species to native British species.

Ms Hobro said: “People said I was mad to introduce solely local species and that no-one was interested in them but I proved them all wrong. It’s been a huge success at the same time as being more ethical and kinder to the environment.

“All our water is pumped in from the Menai Strait so our marine displays live in conditions totally natural to them.

“Some of the rarest species on the planet live on our doorstep but this is not widely known. We have two of the world’s most endangered seahorse species right here in Anglesey. We’re working hard to breed them in the protected environment of the zoo.”

Frankie has installed 50KW of PV solar panels to power the aquarium and is working on a £1million extension plan bringing further green technologies to the tourist attraction.

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She added: “It’s vital for businesses to invest in green technologies. We’re at a stage now where we are in the last chance saloon and if we don’t act it spells disaster for the local environment and our entire planet.”

Gareth Jones, managing director of renewables company Carbon Zero said they had never been busier as interest in renewables rockets across North Wales, Merseyside, Cheshire and the whole of the north west.

Carbon Zero, which employs 25 people operates from three depots in St Asaph, Mochdre and Deeside and is soon to open a fourth branch to keep up with demand.

Mr Jones said: “Since the Climate Change Conference COP26 there’s been heightened realisation of the desperate state our planet is in, coupled with the recent pressures imposed by the cost of living crisis.

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“So, more people are moving towards renewables to power and heat their homes and businesses.

“That in itself is good news but there’s still so much more to be achieved before the country can reach its carbon neutral goal. That’s why the new Net Zero North Wales campaign is so important.

For organisations interested in joining the Net Zero North Wales network, email for more details.