County Durham’s Green Economy

County Durham's Green Economy Study

Low Carbon Environmental Goods and Services (LCEGS2023)

The study was commissioned by Durham County Council to provide a baseline analysis, growth potential and data in evidence for the Green Economy in County Durham.

Study Key Points

County Durham’s Low Carbon Environmental Goods and Services (LCEGS2023) sector was worth £1.7bn to County Durham’s economy in 2021/22, with over 600 businesses and employing over 11,000 people.

Top Ten Sub-sectors by Sales in 2021/22 are:

  • Wind – £226m
  • Alternative Fuels – £210m
  • Alternative Fuels Vehicle – £177m
  • Building Technologies – £168m
  • Carbon Finance – £138m
  • Low Carbon Meat Alternatives – £132m
  • Geothermal – £76m
  • Photovoltaic – £76m
  • Biomass – £65m
  • Recovery & Recycling – £62m

County Durham is a LCEGS Cluster

The LCEGS2023 sector is an economically significant sector within County Durham, at 16%, County Durham’s LCEGS2023 sector accounts for a significantly higher proportion of the County’s GDP than the UK average of 11%, and the wider North East at 14%. 


County Durham accounts for 24% of the North East’s LCEGS2023 sector, which is higher than County Durham’s 22% contribution to the wider economy.


When the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is taken into consideration, the density of companies across the available area of County Durham is relatively even, with strong chains and networks of supply across the County.  This strong business base of high performing LCEGS2023 activity should be considered as a County-wide cluster.

Resilience of the Sector to the Economic Shock of the Covid-19 Pandemic

By 2021/22, the LCEGS2023 sector in County Durham saw 94.8% recovery from the economic shock of the Covid-19 pandemic, which is in line with the UK average of 94.7%. 


Although contraction of the sector is similar to the UK average, 22 of the 36 sub-sectors performed better than the UK and four of the largest sub-sectors in County Durham are the highest performing:

  • Carbon Finance grew by 4.9% compared with the UK average of 2.2%
  • Biomass grew by 0.0% compared with the UK average of -2.4%
  • Low Carbon Meat Alternatives contracted by -3.4% compared with the UK average of -5.7%
  • Building Technologies contracted by -4.7% compared with the UK average of -5.9%


Of the six largest sub-sectors, only Alternative Fuels had contraction greater than the UK, it contracted by -6.8% compared with the UK average of -4.0%.

County Durham's Heritage is its Strength

The Industrial base and heritage of the County and wider North East, which has been formed through a strong history of manufacturing and engineering, has resulted in an area with particularly strong chains and networks of supply, across many sectors which then feed into the ‘umbrella’ LCEGS sector.