Local Authority Low Carbon Economy Programme

Organisations involved

Lead – Improvement and Efficiency West Midlands (IEWM)

Sustainability West Midlands is co-ordinating and managing implementation of the programme on behalf of IEWM


How can local authorities be supported to realise the cost savings, income opportunities and economic benefits of transition to a low-carbon economy?

Local authorities and their partners are facing unprecedented cost-saving measures, rising energy bills and taxes, and shrinking public sector employment, while also trying to capitalise on the emerging opportunities from the low carbon economy.

The West Midlands Local Authority Low Carbon Economy Programme aims to help West Midlands authorities use the low carbon agenda to achieve cost reduction and private and third sector low carbon job creation.

Improvement and Efficiency West Midlands (IEWM) has allocated £500,000 from the Climate Change Skills Fund from the Department of Communities and Local Government to deliver the West Midlands Local Authority Low Carbon Economy Programme.  SWM is co-ordinating the delivery of the Programme on behalf of IEWM, supported by partners including the Environment Agency, Energy Saving Trust and Carbon Trust.

Progress so far

The Programme is now well into the final delivery stage.  The following work strands are underway or complete:

  • Carbon management: support for local authorities to plan and implement energy and cost-saving measures in their own buildings and premises.  A series of implementation workshops and follow-up one-to-one support delivered by the Carbon Trust.
  • Training for planners and members: capacity building to help planning and development management officers and committee members understand renewable and energy efficient technologies, hold informed negotiations with developers, consult effectively with communities and make best determination of planning applications.  A series of capacity building events led by Ursus Consulting in partnership with Encraft and Quantum Strategy and Technology Ltd.
  • Leadership Summit series: half-day events led by SWM for Leaders, Chief Executives and senior decision-makers on topics of shared importance for local authority leaders, sharing good practice and opportunities for individual and joint actions.
  • Community engagement: direct advice, guidance and support to a selection of community-owned renewable energy projects and capacity building for a netowrk of ‘mentors’ to support other similar projects and groups in future.  A programme of bespoke support to be managed by Marches Energy Agency in partnership with Localise West Midlands.
  • Funding opportunities: capacity building for financial decision makers, lawyers and other local authority officers to improve awareness of the energy and cost-saving, income generation and other benefits of installing energy efficiency and renewable energy measures in existing buildings and the range of funding opportunities and providers for these projects.
  • Green jobs: A series of events with local authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships to co-ordinate and share good practice on how to set up and run a green business club and sources of support for businesses.
  • Low Carbon Procurement: Sustainability West Midlands will be sharing good practice on ‘carbon clauses’ for procurement categories to save long term costs and stimulate innovation.
  • Schools: Additional capacity for West Midlands authorities to participate in the Carbon Trust’s 2011/12 Schools Programme.
  • Reduced energy consumption: £450,000 of Climate Change Skills Fund is being specifically targetted at reducing energy consumption across local authority estates and is being co-ordinated by West Midlands Property Alliance. Funds are available to help local authorities undertake energy audits, manage the implementation of recommendations, make low level hardware investment, and move to decentralised enegy networks.

In addition to co-ordinating and managing implementation of the Programme, Sustainability West Midlands is supporting the West Midlands Sustainable Development Officers Network  to act as a Learning Network for the Programme.  Alongside support to the Network, we are running a series of topic-specific events for local authority officers to share experiences learning from the Programme and promote good practice.

Links and contact information

If you would like more information about the programme please contact enquiries@swm.org.uk  0121 237 5890 or visit the IEWM website.


Local Authority Low Carbon Economy Benchmarking Review (pdf)
SKM presentation from CRC reporting workshop on 8 April (pdf)
Minutes from CRC workshop on 8 April (pdf)
Presentation from CRC – making the scheme work on 24 May 2011 (pdf)
Review of Existing Low Carbon Planning Resources and Toolkits 23Feb11 (pdf)
Presentations from renewables workshop on 17 June 2011 (pdf)
Programme flyer (pdf)
Minutes for the renewables workshop on 17 June 2011 (pdf)
Presentations from Climate Adaptation workshop on 13 September 2011 (pdf)
Events schedule (pdf)
Report on SWM meetings with local authority corporate management teams (pdf)
November 2011 update on progress of the Programme (pdf)
Presentations from the area emissions workshop on 9 Dec 11 (pdf)
December update (pdf)
Minutes for the community / area emissions workshop on 9 December (pdf)
LCEP final summary & resource list-6pages
LCEP final summary report (pdf)
LECP – 2012 – 13 Summary (PDF)