Speaking at the British Compressed Gas Association’s (BCGA’s) Virtual Conference today (23rd April), Lord Callanan thanked the industrial gas sector for the essential role it has played over the past year throughout the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Minister for Climate Change and Corporate Responsibility, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Lord Callanan recognised the significant and critical contribution the “invisible industry” has played during the pandemic.

“I know that the industry has made a significant and critical contribution in fighting Covid-19, and I thank you for that. BCGA members have provided vital services throughout the pandemic, supplying medical grade oxygen to hospitals and care homes,” he said.

“I’m sure that you are all well aware of the positive impact that you’ve had in maintaining UK and society as a whole, but I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government to thank you all very much indeed for the key role in the UK’s withstanding of the past year.”

In addition to thanking the industry for its oxygen-related efforts during the pandemic, Lord Callanan also recognised the role the BCGA, and its members, play across the UK on a daily basis.

“Industrial gases also underpin many key UK sectors, including steel, oil and gas, chemical and electronics, as well as Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) sectors such as the water, energy and food industries,” he said.

“The UK’s food supply chain, which is of course is more than just the food we eat, is maintained by a complex web of inputs, including compressed gases from ammonia used as refrigerant to keep our food chilled or frozen, to carbon dioxide used to modify the atmosphere of food packaging.”

“The government greatly values the compressed gases sector as industrial and medical gases provide a great value add to the downstream sectors, augmenting growth across UK industries, allowing for a strong manufacturing base in the UK - without a thriving compressed gas industry, this would not be possible, and it is in the country’s best interests to see the industry flourish.”

Build Back Better: our plan for growth

Looking to a post-Covid world, Lord Callanan detailed the UK Government’s ‘Build Back Better’ plan to support long-term economic growth. During his talk, Lord Callanan explained that the plan looks to the future, providing a framework to guide the government’s longer term growth strategy.

“We will take the take forward the best elements of the industrial strategy within the new approach that corresponds to the challenges and the opportunities that we now face. We will focus on investing in infrastructure, in skills and in innovation as the foundation of our economic recovery and growth, ensuring that we pursue growth at levels of every part of the UK that supports our vision for a truly global Britain and enables our transition to net zero,” he said.

“With many chemical businesses, and indeed many BCGA members based outside the south of England, I want to reassure you that levelling up and supporting these regions remains a key priority for the UK government.”

“The compressed gas industry overall are well-placed to help work with government on its key targets - these include the growing of a hydrogen economy, as laid out in the energy white paper under the Prime Minister’s ten point plan for the Green Industrial Revolution.”

“I’m very grateful for the excellent work that industry members are doing in this space, working to advance the green future of low emission vehicles using the latest high performance and cost-effective technologies.”