RUNCORN will form part of the world's first 'zero-carbon industrial cluster', it has been revealed.

The Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership has announced ambitions to create the clean energy cluster in Ellesmere Port and Runcorn - an area which currently uses five per cent of the UK's power supply.

It is hoped that the Energy Innovation District will be established within 20 years, leading to the LEP becoming 'the global leader in clean energy production'.

And the scheme could bring more than 30,000 full-time job into the area, as well as a £7billion boost to the economy.

Cheshire and Warrington LEP chairman Christine Gaskell said: "Our very realisable aspiration is to make Cheshire and Warrington a global leader in low and zero carbon technologies and our Energy Innovation District will make that possible.

"The government has £170million to spend on low carbon industrial clusters and it wants this to happen by 2030 and zero carbon clusters by 2040.

"Industry in Ellesmere Port and Runcorn uses five per cent of the UK’s energy, and we believe we have the technology and capability to make it a zero-carbon area within 20 years.

"Imagine the impact that will have on the region and the opportunities it will present for new investors and to export our knowhow and experience across the world."

The plans were revealed as a Cheshire and Warrington LEP delegation headed to Cannes for MIPIM 2019, an international property investors expo.

Around £200,000 in funding has already been secured from Innovate UK to deliver the proposals.

Cheshire Energy Hub chairman and LEP board member Ged Barlow added: "We are determined to deliver this quickly.

"The EID is an opportunity to deliver a new energy system for Cheshire and Warrington and the wider north west and reduce energy costs by up to 50 per cent, generate £7billion of private capital investment, create more than 33,000 full time jobs and give Cheshire and Warrington the opportunity to showcase ourselves as tech leaders.

"We have the holy trinity of investment propositions, demonstrable government support, a great depth of expertise to deliver on the ambition and a public sector working hand in hand with the private sector."

"The feasibility study is a significant step forward and with government putting money in, they can see that this project has momentum and has potential to have a huge impact.

"The study will help us create the outline business case and unlock further significant funding from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and Innovate UK, as well as help leverage private sector investment.

"In the last 12 months we have seen an uplift in enquiries and the scheme is very much on the investment map now."

Tata, Essar Oil, EA Technology, SP Energy Networks, Urenco and Peel Environmental have already signed up as members of the EID - with the latter having revealed plans for huge renewable energy facility near Ellesmere Port.

The facility will generate renewable gas from up to 175,000 tonnes of bio-resources, including unrecyclable wood and refuse-derived fuel to be used in the transport sector - generating enough gas to power up to 1,000 low carbon lorries and buses every year.

Peel Environmental partner and head of Manchester office Mike O’Connor said: "The news that Peel is already bringing forward exciting plans for the area alongside strong membership of the EID will mean an upsurge in investment interest in the coming months.

"There is a real desire and opportunity to create something truly transformational for Cheshire and Warrington and the north west."