From:                                             Sustainability West Midlands <>

Sent:                                               28 June 2018 12:02

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Subject:                                         SWM News June 2018 - Air quality: Passive choking or time to change?


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Sustainability West Midlands

SWM News June 2018 - Air quality: Passive choking or time to change?

“Air quality is this generation’s Passive Choking” – Dr Alison Cook, British Lung Foundation.

If you want a reminder about how quickly difficult issues can be solved and our quality of life improved, ask a recent graduate if they remember smoking in pubs and restaurants. You will be greeted with horror and subconsciously put in the box marked ‘alive during Victorian times.’ Yet the public smoking ban in England is only just over ten years old. Today we face the public health crisis of air quality, with a debate about how difficult it is and a raft of initiatives launched this month.

Read ‘Our Comment’ for a full analysis of the air quality issue including the national move to action and local activity at the West Midlands Combined Authority and Birmingham City Council including their forthcoming consultation on the Clean Air Zone for the city.

SWM is helping by annually monitoring the West Midlands 2020 Roadmap where air quality impacts our headline social indicator of the life expectancy gap between the best and worst areas. We helped set and monitor the air quality target for the WMCA Strategic Economic Plan and Performance Management Framework, provided annual monitoring updates and compared performance with other combined authority areas. Through our local networks and research, we have identified and promoted good practice within combined authorities, higher education, the NHS, councils and businesses. We have used this knowledge and worked with our members such as Cenex, Ecuity and our Public Sector Sustainability and Energy Network to help develop a regional approach for the WMCA where it can ‘add value.’ As a result, it is likely that the current WMCA Environment Board will be strengthened with local authority members, to help oversee the development and implementation of a new strategic approach.

All the ingredients are there at national, regional and local level to help make air pollution, like smoking in public places, a thing of a past. All we need is consistent leadership and the willingness to work through and implement the detailed solutions. I am looking forward to ten years’ time, when I talk to a new disbelieving graduate and explain how we used to sit in metal boxes going nowhere while they were silently killing us and our neighbours.

Dr Simon Slater, Associate Director of Policy & Partnerships, on behalf of the SWM team.

Funding opportunities

  • By 11 July. Innovate UK’s Open Programme fund is searching for the best cutting edge or disruptive ideas and concepts with a vision for commercialisation.
  • By 25 July. Organisations can apply for a share of £41.5m to organise and demonstrate world-leading smart energy systems or design new models.
  • By 25 July. Opening Monday, the Strength in Places fund takes a place-based approach to research and innovation funding, to support local economic growth.
  • By 20 August. The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust is encouraging the development of sustainable, low carbon business activity by offering their support.
  • By December 2018. £9.2m in co-funding is available from the Carbon Trust. It is open to all manufacturing sectors but targeting innovative projects for demonstration.
  • By March 2019. SMEs can obtain free energy audits and 40% grant funding towards energy efficiency measures in Greater Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country.
  • By May 2019. SMEs can benefit from the Keele Research and Innovation Support Programme (KRISP) to help develop products, processes or services.
  • On-going. The Community and Environment Fund is to provide benefits to communities along the route disrupted by the construction of HS2.


Over the past year we have promoted >£600 million of accessible funding.


Upcoming SWM and member events

  • Coventry & Warwickshire Green Business Programme’s ‘Greening your Fleet’ event tomorrow will encourage your business to invest in low carbon vehicles.
  • University of Wolverhampton’s EnTRESS Project is running a ‘This is Demolition’ workshop is tomorrow and will focus on business support and the circular economy.
  • sben is hosting their annual networking event, ‘Tackling the Plastics Crisis,’ on 10 July. A brilliant opportunity to get involved and meet some influential individuals.
  • SWM in partnership with members Fit for the Future Network is running an event entitled ‘Biodiversity: Its role in sustainability and tackling climate change’ on 12 July.
  • SWM is supporting Worcestershire LEP by running three workshops in July for local organisations to help shape their new Energy Strategy. Get in touch for more details.
  • Energy Systems Catapult will be presenting their new report ‘Preparing UK Electricity Networks for Electric Vehicles’ on 18 July.


A full list of our members is on our website.

Other SWM and member updates

  • SWM is recruiting for a new Sustainability Adviser but be quick, the deadline for applications is tomorrow!
  • SWM welcomes Tom Hendy, our new Volunteer Communications Officer.
  • SWM welcomes new members Centre for Research into Environmental Science & Technology (CREST), based at University Centre, Shrewsbury.
  • Energy Systems Catapult has developed the Energy Knowledge eXchange, a free service designed to meet the needs of energy innovators.
  • Ecuity has published its Energy and Economic Report for the first quarter of 2018.
  • The Environment Agency has been teaming up with leading UK brands to tackle the Great British #PlasticsChallenge; you can get involved too.
  • The Environment Agency is recruiting for two new independent members for the Trent Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (RFCC). Deadline is 20 July.
  • Mott MacDonald has produced a checklist on how you can reduce your plastic use and, in turn, the plastics in our oceans.
  • SWM, in partnership with the Innovation Alliance, ran the Innovative Low Carbon Working Group meeting on 7 June, hosted by members Coventry City Council.
  • SWM recently published our new report assessing how the combined authorities are performing against a series of sustainability metrics.
  • SWM will be supporting the Heritage Lottery Fund with its sustainability agenda over the next few months. Get in touch to find out what support we can provide to you!
  • SWM has been supporting LEPs with stakeholder engagement to help develop their energy strategies. The latest workshops we ran were for Stoke & Staffs LEP.
  • The University of Wolverhampton based Brownfield Research and Innovation Centre (BRIC) is open offering a range of services to SMEs in the Black Country.


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

  • A Midlands Regional Energy Projects Manager is being recruited to lead the Local Capacity Support Programme. Deadline is 30 June.
  • Meres & Mosses Business Environment Network’s event on 4 July focuses on habitat creation and the impact it can have on your business.
  • Marches Growth Hub has organised an event on 6 July to help you develop and grow your Shropshire business, including funding opportunities.
  • Green Lens is hosting a series of photography workshops between 7 – 28 July to teach photography as activism, led by two of Birmingham’s leading photographers.
  • UK AD & BIOGAS are hosting the World Biogas Expo at the Birmingham nec on 11 and 12 July, the largest trade show dedicated to anaerobic digestion and biogas.
  • The Sustainable Health and Care Awards are open for entry until 20 July. The awards will highlight and celebrate sustainability across the health sector.
  • Climate-KIC is searching for entrepreneurs to pitch their ‘cleantech’ start-up to an expert jury. Promising entrepreneurs can then join their Accelerator Programme.
  • Transport for West Midlands wants your input on how they can better understand and meet the needs of vulnerable groups with £100 of shopping vouchers to be won.

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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