From:                                             Sustainability West Midlands <>

Sent:                                               30 April 2018 15:49

To:                                                  Support1

Subject:                                         SWM News April 2018 - One year on - the WMCA and sustainability


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Sustainability West Midlands

SWM News April 2018 - One year on - the WMCA and sustainability

As part of our support programme for the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) I have been acting as interim Head of Environment at the WMCA. Reflecting on the last year, I consider the performance of the WMCA in relation to sustainability which I recently reported on as part of the draft WMCA annual review. My submission included:

  • Overall good progress on clean growth showing a 21% increase in economic productivity while achieving a 14.5% decrease in carbon emissions using a 2010 baseline.
  • The creation of a new Environment Portfolio holder and agreed set of priorities supported by an Environment Delivery Board of local partners coordinated and monitored by SWM.
  • West Midlands Science and Innovation Audit launched by the Mayor identified international strengths in low carbon transport, buildings and energy. This was reflected later in the year within the UK Government Clean Growth and Industrial strategies and a successful bid to host the £80m UK battery research centre in Warwick.
  • The second devolution deal contained a commitment to recognise the existing regional Energy Capital partnership, support an WMCA wide energy strategy and Regional Energy Commission to explore potential Energy Innovation Zones (EIZs) to pilot new regulation and investment to stimulate new energy companies, products and services.
  • Roundtable with industry and local partners on air quality to begin to develop a longer-term roadmap to go beyond short-term compliance on a single pollutant and tackle a wider range of pollutants to meet the Strategic Economic Plan’s 2030 targets and stimulate local economic opportunities.
  • Research commissioned by Sustainable Housing Action Partnership (SHAP) and the West Midlands Housing Officers Group to identify good sustainability practice for new build standards for housing, planning policies and methods of construction.

However there is still much to do and in ‘Our Comment’ I identify the priorities for the WMCA in 2018-19. The first progress meeting of the WMCA Environment Delivery Board this May to review progress will help accelerate activity.

In the meantime, continued resilience, good humour, communication, willingness for strategic partnership working and the ability to build long term local capacity around sustainability are all needed. This is what the board, staff and volunteers at SWM are all about. Thanks to all our members, partners and supporters. Without your help the WMCA would not have got this far on sustainability, but more help is needed if we are to make a lasting difference to our communities and businesses.

Dr Simon Slater, SWM - Associate Director of Policy and Partnerships, and WMCA Interim Head of Environment on behalf of the SWM Team

Funding opportunities

  • By 31 May 2018. Veolia Environmental Trust grants are for not-for-profit groups in the vicinity of a Veolia site supporting natural, social and the built environment.
  • By March 2019. SMEs can obtain free energy audits and 40% grant funding towards energy efficiency measures in Greater Birmingham, Solihull and Black Country areas.
  • Transforming food production: to meet the growing food demand, the Government has announced £90 million of funding for businesses, researchers and industry. 
  • UK Research and Innovation: a new fund will develop future smart energy systems providing cleaner and cheaper energy. The first fund is worth £41.5million.
  • Flood protection: £36 million is available to areas across England to protect homes from flooding, boost the economy and the environment.

Since 1 April 2017, we have promoted £600 million of accessible funding.

Upcoming SWM and member events

  • Staffordshire Business and Environment Network (sben) is running an Environmental legislation event on 8 May focusing on Brexit.
  • The SHAP Annual Conference will be held on 15 May at Sandwell Council House with a focus on improving the quality of the housing stock.
  • Transport for West Midlands is running events to promote its forthcoming Bikeshare scheme on 15 May in Birmingham and on 18 May in Wolverhampton.
  • Cenex is running an event focusing on clean air zones and ultra-low emissions vehicles in Derby on 17 May.
  • sben is running a breakfast event to educate people about the possibility of using infra-red heating technology in their businesses on 22 May.  
  • Edie Live 2018 will be held at NEC Birmingham on 22 and 23 May; be inspired by leaders and experts within sustainability. SWM is an event partner.
  • Climate Change Solutions is running a Hydrogen Fuel Cell Showcase at the University of Birmingham on 31 May.
  • SWM will be convening the latest Innovative Low Carbon Working Group meeting on 7 June in partnership with the Innovation Alliance for the West Midlands.
  • sben is running an environmental visit to Staffordshire IT company Stone Computers, recipients of the Staffordshire Chambers Environmental award, on 7 June.
  • The European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI) is running a Value from Waste masterclass on 13 & 14 June.
  • Energy Systems Catapult’s transforming places through clean growth event is on 19 June to engage local authorities in mapping future local energy.
  • SWM in partnership with our member Fit for the Future Network is running an event entitled ‘Biodiversity: Its role in sustainability and tackling climate change’ on 12 July.

A full list of our members is on our website.

Other SWM and member updates

  • SWM and Encraft are developing the energy strategy for Stoke and Staffs LEP and we have recently run two stakeholder workshops.
  • SWM and Groundwork have produced their latest Environmental Legislation Update – Volume 4 Issue 2 looking at Plastic waste and 2017 UK Greenhouse Gas Emissions.
  • Mott MacDonald is searching for a new Senior Environmental Consultant to join its team in Birmingham.
  • Mott MacDonald has released a new integrated sustainability report, helping consultancies to address the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.   
  • Keele University is offering businesses in Stoke-On-Trent and Staffordshire fully funded expert support on the smart energy and low carbon economy.
  • MEBC has opened applications for its Business Awards, which showcase excellence in the Low Carbon and Environmental Technologies Sector.
  • Cenex’s LEVEL initiative is offering a free online course to provide knowledge of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, procurement, installation and management.
  • Ecuity has produced a document for BEIS on what a heat network is and what are the key benefits and opportunities of heat networks.
  • Ecuity is recruiting for an Energy Policy and strategy consultant, for which the closing date for applications is 8 May.
  • Energy Capital, the three West Midlands LEPs and the WMCA have opened the regional energy strategy for consultation until 21 May.
  • Groundwork West Midlands has a variety of different job opportunities available and information about them can be found here.
  • Worcester Country Council is seeking a project manager to cover a year of maternity leave to deliver the Low Carbon Opportunities Programme supporting SMEs.
  • SWM has been supporting North Warwickshire and Hinckley College with its sustainability agenda; contact us to find out how we can do the same for you!
  • SWM will be supporting Staffordshire University’s GradEX event for the fifth year running. This year’s celebration is on 4 May.
  • SWM will be speaking about our health networks at the NHS Sustainability Regional Event in Birmingham on 8 May.

SWM members can send their events, research or other contributions to to be included in the next issue for no extra charge. Not a member? There are many advantages to SWM membership; find out more here.

Other news and events

  • Shropshire Wildlife Trust’s Annual Corporate Event on 2 May reflects on the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy and how businesses can engage.
  • Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust needs your help to protect local wildlife sites due to the new changes in the National Planning Policy Framework.
  • The Sustainable Estates Forum for estates teams and suppliers in higher education, healthcare, leisure, retail, commercial and residential sectors is on 21 and 22 June.
  • Centre for Cities has produced a document which identifies six ideas for a more effective local industrial strategy.
  • Climate Just is an online resource that enables the identification of most socially vulnerable people to climate change. It has just been refreshed!
  • Plastic waste: As the UK goes through 13 billion plastic bottles a year, a new scheme will be brought in late in 2018 to try and reduce the extent of this waste.
  • Transport: A cycling and walking safety event is being held in Birmingham on May 21, in line with the Department for Transport’s cycling safety review.
  • Rushlight Summer Showcase is a marketplace event that brings together over 150 cleantech developers and sustainable solutions’ providers in London on 14 June.
  • BEIS Heat Network Investment project is moving towards the goals set in the Clean Growth Strategy, with a Midlands Engagement event in July 2018 likely.

GDPR: On 25 May, the Data Protection Act 1998 will be superseded by the Guide to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The basic premise is around a greater transparency of what individuals' data is being used for, by whom and how. SWM is currently on track to be fully GDPR compliant by 25 May. With reference to your subscription to the SWM monthly newsletter, please be aware that you can unsubscribe at any time using the link at the foot of each newsletter. If anyone has any questions about how we use your contact details, please get in touch with us at any time or check out our privacy policy.

We hope you enjoyed reading our newsletter. If you would like to subscribe to our newsletter, are interested in becoming a member or have news stories, events, case studies and reports, please visit our website or contact us.

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