From:                                             Sustainability West Midlands <>

Sent:                                               26 March 2018 11:34

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Subject:                                         SWM News March 2018: A beastly reminder about our need to adapt


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Sustainability West Midlands

SWM News March 2018: A beastly reminder about our need to adapt

Were you affected by the Beast from the East, the strong easterly flow that brought bitterly cold winds and snow to most parts of the UK, including the West Midlands? I was on holiday in western Scotland when the first beast struck, smug that I experienced no lying snow and that the wind chill was a mere minus eight degrees, as opposed to minus thirteen in Birmingham.

Alas, my smugness did not last, as I ended up being stranded for an extra day due to conditions further south and ferried around in alternative forms of transport, all at my own cost, as the trains had been brought to a standstill. But my inconvenience was nothing compared to those of us who genuinely suffer during extreme weather; the homeless and people with long-term illnesses, for example.

So why are we not better prepared? We are often affected by a variety of extreme weather events. Last week’s excellent Flood & Coast conference in Telford, convened by our members the Environment Agency, showcased many examples of good practice where organisations are adapting infrastructure, services and people to climate change. Yet we are still finding an endemic lack of national preparedness, reflected in our recent publication Fit for the Future II that shows that the majority of Local Enterprise Partnerships are not at all prepared for the impacts of increasing extreme weather, despite evidence of the economic damage they cause.

SWM can provide the building blocks to help your organisation become better prepared for climate change; for example, we recently developed a resilience plan for Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and used the Climate Just tool to pinpoint vulnerable locations and individuals.

Green infrastructure is a simple measure that can help alleviate flood risk and provide cooling during heatwaves, which is why we are particularly delighted to announce that Boningale GreenSky, green roof experts, are the winners of our recent membership competition.

And you now have the opportunity to directly contribute to our aims around climate adaptation and wider sustainability issues as we are currently recruiting for two roles: an Office Administrator (deadline 20 April) and a Volunteer Communications Officer (deadline 30 April). We look forward to your application!

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

Funding opportunities

  • By 30 March 2018. Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP is looking for proposals to its Sustainable Urban Development programme. £11m of ERDF is available.
  • By 9 April 2018. Clarion Housing Group Community Grants Programme awards £1,000 to £5,000 to charities and community groups benefiting its residents.
  • 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 18 April 2018. The Government is looking for ideas for the third wave of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, focusing on industrial and societal challenges.
  • 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. 

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

Upcoming SWM and member events

  • University of Birmingham is hosting the launch of the Regional Energy Policy Commission on 28 March with Energy Capital.
  • Coventry & Warwickshire Green Business Programme have a two-day course on 4 and 5 April introducing the basic elements of 3D BIM development software.
  • Coventry & Warwickshire Green Business Programme’s business support event is on 11 April helping develop your business through innovation.
  • MEBC are running an access to finance event on 11 April helping SMEs find affordable finance to support sustainable growth or invest in resource efficiency.
  • Coventry & Warwickshire Green Business Programme, intro to energy management systems event is on 19 and 20 April to gain an understanding of ISO 14001/50001.  
  • Aston University are running a workshop on ISO14001:2015 for SMEs, aiming to equip you to change and improve your organisation’s environmental management.
  • Energy Systems Catapult’s transforming places through clean growth event is on 19 June to engage local authorities in mapping future local energy.
  • SWM and Encraft are developing the energy strategy for Stoke and Staffs LEP and are running two stakeholder workshops in April; contact us for more details.

​​​​​​​A full list of our members is on our website.

Other SWM and member updates

  • SWM supported Energy Capital with a Regional Energy Strategy Engagement event on 6 March, hosted by our members Energy Systems Catapult.
  • SWM with Public Health England ran an event on 8 March for our health networks: Inspiring Behaviour Change. Among the speakers was our member Integral View.
  • SWM and The Innovation Alliance convened the latest Innovative Low Carbon Working Group meeting on 15 March.
  • SWM contributed to a recent blog written by the Innovation Alliance focusing on sustainable construction and innovation.
  • WMCA: SWM has been busy progressing activity on energy, air quality, buildings, business, operations, natural environment and the new local industrial strategy.
  • WMCA, SWM and partners will formally report progress to the first WM Combined Authority Environment Delivery Board after the May local elections.
  • The Innovation Alliance is recruiting a project manager for the Consortium for the Demonstration of Intelligent Systems initiative.
  • Mott MacDonald are searching for a new Senior Environmental Consultant to join their team in Birmingham.
  • Keele University are offering businesses in Stoke-On-Trent and Staffordshire fully funded expert support on the smart energy and low carbon economy.
  • SHAP has a membership offer allowing you to contribute to their vision of all domestic dwellings being energy efficient, resilient, affordable and comfortable.
  • Energy Systems Catapult has lots of exciting job opportunities open; check them out!
  • 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, instillation and management.
  • Cenex is looking for expressions of interest from prospective speakers for its forthcoming annual Low Carbon Vehicles Conference.
  • 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 spoke at last week’s Flood and Coast event, convened by members Environment Agency, about our analysis of LEP progress on climate resilience.
  • Fit for the Future Network 2017 Impact Report has been released which states how its 102 member organisations generated 48.5GWh of electricity through renewables.​​​​​​​

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

  • Sustainable Development Goals. A study looks at challenges that companies face when trying to achieve the SDGs as well as the benefits of achieving these goals.
  • Climate Action Network West Midlands are holding six workshops addressing transport, food, energy, housing, employment and education.
  • Lighting Industry Academy are running a lighting for businesses event on 17 April in Telford, aimed at SMEs offering support for implementation of lighting systems.
  • BESST’s back-2-basics breakfast meeting on 18 April will include award winning case studies on carbon and energy management, natural capital enhancement and more.
  • Shropshire Wildlife Trust’s Annual Corporate Event on 2 May reflects on the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy and how businesses can engage.
  • The Sustainable Estates Forum for estates teams & suppliers in higher education, healthcare, leisure, retail, commercial & residential sectors is on 21 and 22 June.
  • NHS Sustainability Awards 2018 Shortlist. Congratulations to Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust who have been shortlisted for three different awards.

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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