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Sustainability West Midlands

SWM News April 2019 - Is Brexit taking the environmental biscuit?

One of our jobs at SWM is to keep you up to date with the latest policy and news emanating from UK government, but this is becoming increasingly difficult. Whichever side of the debate you're on, Brexit has undeniably thrown everything up in the air and its as if gravity has failed to bring it all down to earth again. 

One thing we do know is that the government has committed to establishing a new Environment Bill, drawn up as a consequence of Brexit and to effectively try and replace the environment-related legislation that the EU has set over many years. The Bill "will help us make good on our commitment to leave the natural world in a better condition than we found it" and will be overseen by a new Office for Environmental Protection. Looking positively, it is clearly a good thing that the Government has recognised the necessity of the Bill and on paper, at least, it says many of the right things. 

However, at present it is hard to see how the environment can be a government priority whilst this uncertainty, and the likely transition that will follow whatever the final outcome is, continues.

So, SWM's response to all this - apart from to try and keep you updated - is to take matters into our own hands. We can't wait until Brexit does or doesn't happen to start implementing our new sustainability Roadmap, which will be launched at our Annual Conference on 3 December (save the date) and implemented from 1 January 2020. We are currently hard at work making our new Roadmap reflect the urgency that we need for the right change to happen, but realistic enough that our stakeholders and regional leaders can implement this change despite the on-going national-level chaos.

We will be giving you the only remaining opportunity to provide your comments and thoughts on our new Roadmap at our Members-Only Summer Social event on 25 June. This is your chance to shape the future of the West Midlands, so don't miss out.

Alan Carr, Senior Sustainability Adviser, on behalf of the SWM Team. 

For a full version of this comment, visit our website.

Funding opportunities

  • By 1 May 2019. Highways England is investing up to £20 million for solutions that focus on how digital technology can improve air quality on UK roads.

  • By 1 May 2019. The new £23.5 million Business Growth Programme 2 (BGP2) has launched and the first funding round is open for applications.

  • By 2 May 2019. Up to £1.2m funding for employee-led innovation is available now from UK Research and Innovation.

  • By 31 May. Veolia Is once again running their £1,000 community grants programme in Birmingham for community groups or environmental projects.

  • By May 2019. SMEs can benefit from the Keele Research and Innovation Support Programme (KRISP) to help develop products, processes or services.

  • By 4 June. Innovate UK is offering up to £30,000 for the development of solutions to fuel inefficiency in the developing world, especially in regards to the impact of cooking fumes.

  • By June 2019. Businesses in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent can benefit from a £5m funding pot towards expanding business premises or renovating under-utilised areas.

  • By October 2019. SMEs can obtain free energy audits and 40% grant funding towards energy efficiency measures in Greater Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country.

  • By June 2021. The Worcestershire Natural Networks scheme aims to boost biodiversity in an ERDF-funded venture which includes SWM members Worcestershire County Council.

  • By December 2021. Businesses in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent can benefit from free energy audits and 60% grant funding towards energy efficiency measures

  • On-going. The Community and Environment Fund is to provide benefits to communities along the route disrupted by the construction of HS2.

  • On-going. BEIS funding of around £162 million is available in industrial research and innovation, including Carbon Capture, Use and Storage (CCUS).

  • On-going. The Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge is running a Start Up Competition, awarding businesses demonstrating sustainable entrepreneurship with up to €500,000.

Over the past year we have promoted >£840 million of accessible funding.

Upcoming SWM and member events

  • SWM is exhibiting at the Public Sector Energy Event taking place at the Emirates Stadium on 30 April, bringing together key players in the energy sector.
  • Worcestershire County Council is running a Low Carbon Technology Insights Breakfast Briefing on 2 May looking at energy storage.
  • Bryt Energy is running their "Breakfast with Bryt" event on 9 May, focusing on how a zero-carbon energy future for your business could be really beneficial. SWM is speaking at this event.
  • University of Warwick is welcoming the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust on 9 May, to give talks on the importance of a strong environment act going forward.
  • SWM is running an event with our partners Innovation Alliance for the West Midlands on 14 May, focusing on identifying project development opportunities around digital construction.
  • EnTRESS and International Synergies are leading a "resource matching" workshop on 16 May, bringing together organisations which could collaborate on waste reduction.
  • Coventry & Warwickshire Green Business Programme is running an event on 16 May looking at how reorganising your workplace layout can lead to efficiency savings.
  • EnTRESS will be available for booked slots at Edie Live on 21&22 May where you can speak with them and get personally-tailored advice.
  • Energy Systems Catapult is hosting an event on "How to Profit from the Energy System & Infrastructure Transformation" on 22 May at the University of Birmingham.
  • EnTRESS is looking for SMEs with initiatives to help reduce waste at Wolverhampton Racecourse to join them at their event on 23 May.
  • sben is hosting a plastic thinking event for world plastic day on 5 June to encourage behaviour change around plastic consumption and waste, and improving these.
  • SWM is jointly running an event with CIWEM on 5 June regarding air quality, looking at clean air zones and how the West Midlands can learn from London's successes and failures.
  • SWM and partners Innovation Alliance for the West Midlands are convening the next Innovative Low Carbon Working Group meeting on 6 June, hosted by our members Coventry University.
  • The University of Birmingham is convening a lecture to be delivered by Professor Phil Blythe on 11 June which will explore the future of mobility.
  • SWM is running a workshop at a Staffordshire University run event on 11 June to discuss opportunities for SMEs, including funding and grants.
  • EnTRESS is seeking to raise awareness of environmental sustainability in the brewing industry at their event on 13 June, seeking to build relations with local brewing businesses.
  • SWM is a partner in the Flood & Coast conference, aiming to deliver excellence in flood  management. We will be exhibiting across all three days from 18-20 June.
  • SWM is a partner and exhibiting at the Sustainable Buildings and Estates Forum from 20-21 June, looking at how all aspects of projects can be made more sustainable.
  • SWM's members' only Summer Social takes place on 25 June, hosted by Ricoh UK Products Ltd. The event will provide exclusive networking and partnership development opportunities.
  • EnTRESS is running an event looking at the Circular Economy in the Construction Sector on 27 June to look at how businesses can be more involved with this concept.
  • Fit For The Future Network is hosting an ESOS Q&A event with a representative from the Environment Agency on 27 June.
  • SWM is running a workshop on Clean Growth at this year's Venturefest West Midlands, co-organised by our partners Innovation Alliance for the West Midlands, taking place on 4 July.
  • SWM will be exhibiting at Recycling and Waste Management 2019 from 11-12 September, taking place in Birmingham and bringing together industry experts to tackle business waste.
  • SWM will be exhibiting at Solar & Storage Live 2019, taking place on the 17-19 September, gathering people from across the sectors.

A full list of upcoming events is available here as well as our full member list here.

Other SWM and member updates

  • SWM would really like to engage with you further on social media so please follow our Twitter and LinkedIn pages for more regular updates and engagements.
  • Systra has recently published a case study with SWM, highlighting their work with Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, looking at parking and travel strategies.
  • The Flood & Coast Excellence Awards will be held at the Flood and Coast 2019 Conference, celebrating innovative projects that have tackled flooding issues.
  • Warwick University is looking for summer placement opportunities for their students in order for students to gain experience in different industries.
  • Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chambers of Commerce is advertising for a full-time Energy and Resource Efficiency Advisor, fixed term until 2022.
  • Venturefest West Midlands is taking place on 4 July at the NEC and sponsors are being sought providing exclusive engagement opportunities with SMEs.
  • Coventry University is seeking partners for their environmental big data project, expertise in the analysis and assimilation of ‘big data’ for potential use to assess urban heat islands.
  • Localise West Midlands is looking for participants for their Peer Learning Feasibility Study Survey, with opinions sought for those with or without experience of this, closing on 30 April. 

SWM members can send their events, research or other contributions to to be included in the next newsletter. Not a member? There are many advantages to SWM membership; find out more here.

Other news and events

For a full list of all our upcoming events, visit our events page here. For news items, visit our news page here.

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