SWM Annual Conference: Delivering the West Midlands Combined Authority Sustainability Priorities – 28/11/17

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Date of Conference

28 November 2017


  • Peter Woodward, SWM
  • Peter Braithwaite, SWM
  • Tim Haywood, SWM
  • Anna Bright, SWM
  • Simon Slater, SWM
  • The Baroness Brown of Cambridge
  • Andy Street, West Midlands Mayor
  • Leads of roundtable workshop discussions

Purpose of the presentations

Despite a huge amount of national political uncertainty, the government’s commitment to devolution remains strong and the West Midlands is taking advantage of this by using its devolved powers to tackle many local issues and stimulate local growth through the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA). SWM is a delivery partner to the WMCA to ensure that this growth is sustainable and resilient for the future. This year’s SWM Annual Conference provided the opportunity for delegates to not only hear about progress to date, but to also help shape future activity on sustainability in the WMCA area.

SWM’s Chief Executive Anna Bright provided an overview on how the region has been progressing against our 2020 vision, before our keynote, The Baroness Brown of Cambridge, set the national scene and stimulated debate ahead of the rest of the conference. Baroness Brown, who is Vice chair of Committee on Climate Change and Chair of the Adaptation Sub-Committee, challenged the roles of cities, elected Mayors and LEPs in delivering our carbon emissions reduction targets and ensuring that our urban areas are resilient to the risks of climate change, to ensure  a healthy and prosperous future for the UK’s citizens in the face of a changing climate.

The West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street, then set out his current and future commitments and actions related to sustainability and debated with Baroness Brown around key issues, including how do we make sure the West Midlands’ people, infrastructure and natural environment is resilient to climate impacts? Andy then presented the awards to the winners of the recent Energy Capital Innovation Challenge competition.

After the break, Simon Slater, Associate Director of Policy and Partnerships at SWM, provided delegates with an overview of our work with the WMCA on sustainability to date, before the room split into ten thematic workshops, each led by a local expert, that stimulated discussion and asked what one priority should the WMCA focus on in year one, and then in year two. Outputs from these workshops will feed into our decision making when supporting the WMCA with future activity around sustainability.


100% of delegates providing feedback rated our Annual Conference as excellent or good in terms of content and organisation. Feedback included:

“I thought [it] was an excellent event (one of the best of this type I have been to), and showcased SWM’s capabilities, network and influence extremely well. I made many new and interesting connections, as, I imagine, did all attendees.”

“By far the best and most informative event I have attended since joining [my organisation].”

“It was good to meet up again today. There is such a positive vibe at SWM, lets hope there is plenty of influence on the WMCA. I really enjoyed the conference.” 

“Just attended the Sustainability West Midlands Annual Conference and AGM. Great turnout from members and inspiring discussions on the future for a sustainable region. With the ability to draw in such quality of speakers as Andy Street and Baroness Brown of Cambridge, it shows SWM is in a very positive place. We look forward to help supporting you into 2018!”

“Always stimulating events and this one better than ever!”

Twitter highlights included:

Tim Haywood, new SWM Chair: Delighted to be the new chairman of the marvellous Sustainability West Midlands (aka @SWMtweet).

Groundwork West Midlands: Fantastic to be at @SWMtweet #suswm2017 earlier today- really positive discussion with partners on a range of sustainability topics in our region.

SYSTRA is pleased to be attending the annual Sustainability West Midlands conference where Andy Street has been discussing “Delivering the West Midlands Combined Authority Sustainability Priorities” #suswm2017

Mayor Andy Street: Delighted to speak this morning at the @SWMtweet Annual Conference about delivering our sustainability priorities within the #IndustrialStrategy

Climate Change Solutions: Great to be at SWM annual conference & see #Hydrogen getting a mention as part of solution to decarbonising heating @theCCCuk @SWMtweet

Next Steps

The Mayor, Andy Street, said that he would come back next year and provide an update on progress – we’ll hold him to that! In the meantime, we will use the feedback from the workshops to inform a future programme of work for the WMCA on sustainability and help to support the new WMCA Environment Board, due to meet for the first time in January 2018.

Contact Information

For more information contact enquiries@swm.org.uk or call 0121 237 5890.


Keynote: The Baroness Brown of Cambridge
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street
All other slides


SWM is very grateful for the support of all delegates, roundtable leads, our partners…

…and exhibitors:

  1. Cenex
  2. Mott MacDonald
  3. Groundwork West Midlands