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The Waterline Summit 2023 - Launch Event

13th November 2023
12:00am - 12:00am
Aura Innovation Centre, HU13 0GD
Waterline 20231113 0317

Day 1 - Launch Event

Launching The Waterline Summit 2023, this event will bring together international speakers, innovative thinkers, and industry experts as well as key government figures to discuss the crucial role the Humber region must play as the UK’s biggest carbon emitter with the greatest decarbonisation potential.

Positioning the Humber as central to the global climate challenge facing world leaders and connecting the Humber globally.

As we launch our 5th consecutive Waterline Summit, our first event will discuss the national state of climate change and explore the core themes such as adaptation & resilience, sustainable finance, built environment, offshore wind, carbon capture and the energy transition.

Aligning with the aims of COP28, we will take a look at our regional progress made so far, discussing the progress and impact of actions taken by our local businesses and communities, as well as identifying opportunities for action where there are gaps.

Businesses large and small will come together with academics, industry experts and young people, to learn, discuss and tackle the greatest challenge of our time, as we all work together to reach net zero.

To launch The Waterline Summit 2023, Bondholders and guests from around the wider region converged on Aura Innovation Centre, Hull to network and to hear from the keynote speaker and panel. The event was well attended and was a fantastic way to start off this popular 3-day conference, setting the theme of taking stock of where the Humber is in the journey to net zero.

The event looked at the crucial role the Humber region must play as the UK’s biggest carbon emitter with the greatest decarbonisation potential. We came together to learn, discuss and tackle the greatest challenge of our time, as we all work together to reach net zero.

After an welcome address from Bill Walker, Chair of Future Humber and a short speech from Clare Hayward MBE DL of the NP11, the keynote speaker, the Rt Hon Chris Skidmore MP delivered the keynote speech, joining us virtually from his office in Westminster.

Chris Skidmore talked about the importance of the Humber in meeting the UK's decarbonisation goals, stressing that our historic record of being the UK's biggest carbon emitting industrial cluster didn't make us bad or good, but certainly provided a challenge and an opportunity. He spoke of the number of initiatives in the Hull and Humber region and acknowledged how critical the region is to international trade.

"You have created not only a national but a global hub - a paradigm of clean growth."

A panel discussion hosted by Clare Hayward followed.

"The Humber is demonstrating the climate leadership that is all about collaboration, leadership, skill and energy"
Chris Skidmore

Henri Murison, Chief Executive of Northern Powerhouse Partnership talked about his disappointment at the way things had been handled at British Steel and about the merit of a business having their people with them on the net zero journey. He acknowledged that the most succesful strategy for decarbonisation may turn out to be slower but positive progress rather than a strategy which is faster but disregards people, particularly those who do not have the privilege of choice in employment or housing.

Corrine Barry, East Coast Director at RWE talked in support of private initiatives such as CATCH in Stallingborough, a training provider supported by the private sector. As a private company, RWE are making the choice to invest their own money into something that is needed rather than waiting for government funding to turn up. People are key and investing in their skills is more than a 'nice to have'.

Arianna Abdul-Nour, Co-Chair of the COP28 FLN Delegation 2023, shared her experiences of the challenges involved when working with government and also spoke about the importance of sharing knowledge with all stakeholders up and down the social chain. Her experience in visiting island nations across the world gave her a valuable perspective on how large organisations and government should be engaging with local people.

Professor Briony McDonagh, Professor of Environmental Humanities and Interim Director, Energy & Environment Institute, University of Hull shared more about what the University of Hull was doing in terms of research around decarbonisation. She noted that the people of the Humber had, reasonably successfully, lived with water for a long period of time and we had a history of adaptation and collaboration.

Chris Skidmote 1
Aura innovation 1


Net Zero Humber urgency and British Steel's 'wrong transition' highlighted as Waterline Summit opens - via Business Live Humber

The Waterline: North's praise for Energy Estuary stance on the route to Net Zero - via Business Live Humber


The Rt Hon Chris Skidmore MP

The Rt Hon Chris Skidmore MP has been the MP for Kingswood since 2010. He has served in five government departments between 2015 and 2020 including as Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation twice between 2018 and 2020.

In 2019, he was also appointed Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth, attending Cabinet, during which time he signed the UK's commitment to Net Zero by 2050 into law, and helped secure the UK Presidency of COP26.

Most recently, he served as the Chair of the Government’s Independent Net Zero Review, and published the 340 page ‘Mission Zero’ report in January 2023. He is currently Chair of the All Party Group on the Environment and is also a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Clare Hayward MBE, DL

A highly competent chair and facilitator at senior management and board level. A successful business leader and entrepreneur focused on leadership and strategic engagement who has coached, facilitated and chaired boards, senior management teams and leaders across the globe over the last 30 years working in industry sectors including technology, banking, natural resources, retail and manufacturing. Experience also includes investment funding and negotiating the sale and purchase of several businesses.

Clare is the Chair of Cheshire and Warrington LEP where she has been the Chair of the Employer Skills Board. She is also very passionate about enabling the region to meet its sustainable, healthy, inclusive and growing vision.. She believes in the power of the public, private and voluntary sectors working collaboratively to achieve long term goals.

Clare is the Chair of NP11 – the 11 regions across the north. Focused on raising the global profile of the north, increasing trade and investment in the North and to enhance the collaborative power across the North to improve the quality of life for all.

She was an MD at Accenture focused on being the Global Growth and Strategy lead for the Leadership and Culture Practice and the Growth Director at Cirrus, a Leadership, talent and engagement consulting firm. Cirrus was sold to Accenture in 2021. Past roles have included Oliver Wyman Global Head of Market Development, Partner (Leadership Development) Global consulting business with operations in 40 countries, part of MMC (NASDAQ), $11bn turnover

Academee (1993-2008) - Managing Director European leadership consultancy, 75 employed and 250 associates, rated 5th Best Place to Work in UK by FT in 2007 As MD, led the business from launch in 1993 to sale in 2008 to Oliver Wyman with the CEO through both organic growth and acquisitions.

Additionally, Clare is involved in a number of charities and community projects.

Henri Murison

During his five years since his first appointment, Henri has established the Northern Powerhouse Partnership as the business led organisation which convenes the North together. From making the case for significant investment in key transport priorities and further devolution deals for the North, to challenging for a better deal for the most disadvantaged from the education system, his team are focused on how government, business and partners can drive the North’s ambitions.

Before joining the Partnership, he worked in senior research and policy roles in policing and financial services, and as a former senior local government figure in Newcastle upon Tyne remains a commentator on the political as well as economic rationale for Levelling Up and wider regional policy in the UK.

Corrine Barry

As Director of RWE's East Coast Net Zero. Corrine is responsible for delivering RWE’s global growing green ambitions across the Humber, Teesside and surrounding regions, seeking opportunities for further renewables deployment and decarbonising the energy and industrial sectors.

With a concentrated focus on driving the growth of RWE’s local portfolio of renewable and low carbon projects, which play a key role in ensuring a secure, domestic energy supply while delivering RWE’s and the UK’s net zero ambitions.

Corrine has over 13 years of experience in the Renewables sector. As a passionate advocate for the sector with a strong focus on STEM, ensuring students from all socioeconomic backgrounds have the ability to access opportunities and experiences. Having received recognition as a leading figure for her contributions to the sector as
Renewables Women of the year & Finalist for Social Impact

Arianna Abdul-Nour

As the current Head UK Youth Delegate to COP28 with the Future Leaders Network, Arianna’s work focuses on the effects of climate change on different communities around the world.

Arianna’s work heavily centres around the power of young people in advancing issues facing our 21st century global context, fostering partnerships and filling in lacunas and stalemates in international climate dialogue that are hindering our progress.

Arianna is the Project Manager for Island Innovation, leading on global on projects that help advance innovation and drive sustainable change across island communities worldwide. Within this role, she leads the Innovation’s Caribbean Climate Justice Leader’s Academy (CCJLA), which trains young Caribbean citizens up in UNFCCC negotiations and grants them a fully funded opportunity to attend COP

Professor Briony McDonagh

Briony McDonagh is Interim Director of the Energy & Environment Institute and Professor of Environmental Humanities at the University of Hull. Her disciplinary background is in historical geography and environmental history. Her current research interests lie in the green-blue humanities and her work uses place-based, creative and participatory methods to build water and climate action. She has published widely on landscape and environmental change, on histories and cultures of living with water and flood, on women’s histories, and on the historical geographies of enclosure, commons and protest.

Briony is Director of the Leverhulme Centre for Water Cultures, hosted by the University of Hull's Energy & Environment Institute. The Centre pioneers a new, humanities-led, interdisciplinary and transhistorical research area – the ‘green-blue humanities’ – equipping a new generation of PhD students to take this agenda forward and transform our understanding of humanity's relationships with water in the green-blue regions of the world, past, present and future.

In addition, Briony is Principal Investigator of 'Risky Cities: Living with Water in an Uncertain Future Climate', a UKRI-funded project learning from the past to build climate awareness today and for the future. Working with project partners including the National Youth Theatre, Absolutely Cultured and the Living with Water Partnership, the project develops learning histories for one flood-prone city (Kingston upon Hull, UK) and use arts and heritage interventions to engage diverse communities in building flood resilience.