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Sustainability West Midlands

SWM News February 2020 - Net Zero Action

Recently, many of our conversations focus on one topic, net zero. With the UK Government being the first major world economy to declare a target for becoming carbon neutral by 2050, the rest of the country is following suit, setting their own targets. 

The West Midlands is no different. The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) recently published its discussion paper #WM2041 which sets out 74 measures aims at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The consultation is open until 12 March. Our local authority members are also working hard to deliver on the 2050 target by setting their own ambitious targets to make their operations carbon neutral. With councils such as Wolverhampton considering a 2028 target, the West Midlands is amongst the most ambitious areas striving for change. In total, 18 of 32 local authorities have declared targets for achieving carbon neutrality for their operations. 

SWM have been pushing this agenda forwards. With our updated Sustainability Roadmap to 2030, we are working with organisations across the region, large and small, to support and innovate. To aid this progress, we are also holding events such as 'Counting Down To Zero' which takes place on 23 March in Coventry. We will hear from the WMCA on the #WM2041 paper and our members City of Wolverhampton Council and Keele University on their response to Net Zero. 

Read the full comment here

Tom Hendy, Sustainability Adviser, Sustainability West Midlands

Funding Opportunities

  • By 4 March 2020. UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £30 million for UK-developed late stage R&D, to support growth in low carbon propulsion capability in the automotive sector.
  • By 10 March 2020. Ecosurety is investing £1million in projects to reduce the environmental impact of packaging, batteries or WEEE through innovation or research in the UK. 
  • By 10 April 2020. If you have a powerful idea to protect or restore the environment and believe in a bright future you might have what it takes to become a Young Champion of the Earth.
  • By 15 April 2020. Organisations can apply for a share of £100,000 to develop an air quality monitor to provide information and advice on pollutants in the home. 
  • By 22 April 2020. Innovate UK is investing up to £25 million in the best game-changing and commercially viable innovative or disruptive ideas. Applications can come from any area.
  • By 30 April 2020. Apply for a share of £220 million funding for all-electric bus towns set out in an ambitious and innovative action to meet the demands of the travelling public. 
  • By 30 June 2021. The Worcestershire Natural Networks project aims to boost biodiversity in an ERDF-funded venture which includes our members Worcestershire County Council.
  • By 31 December 2021. Businesses in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent can benefit from free energy audits and 60% grant funding towards energy efficiency measures.
  • By 31 December 2021. Marches Renewable Energy is a grant scheme allowing eligible applicants to apply for a 50% grant for the installation of renewable technologies. 
  • By 31 December 2022. GBSLEP Habitats Grants Programme is still open and is focused on reducing dereliction and the improvement and development of natural habitats. 
  • By 2025. The Severn Trent Community Fund is giving away £10 million over the next five years to support local projects, charities and community groups in the Severn Trent region. 
  • Monthly. Monthly themed funding is available for Birmingham based projects that aim to deliver positive change.  
  • On-going. The Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) is a £10 million programme which supports rural communities in England to develop renewable energy projects.
  • 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 for industrial research and innovation, including Carbon Capture, Use and Storage.
  • On-going. The UK Government has revealed how to apply for the Urban Tree Challenge fund, which has £10 million available for the planting of trees in urban areas of England.
  • On-going. The next round of the Energy Catalyst Programme is due to launch. Up to £20 million will be available to support businesses to develop sustainable energy technologies. 

Over the past year we have promoted >£900 million of accessible funding.

Upcoming SWM and Member Events

  • Veolia's 20/20 Vision: Healthcare and Education events on 27 and 28 February will include the latest policy changes, better ways to reduce and recycle waste, and improve energy efficiency.
  • Coventry City Council’s Sustainability & Low Carbon Team will explore some of the skills needed to develop a sustainability strategy within your organisation on 10 March in Coventry.
  • Business in the Community and the Environment Agency, supported by SWM, are holding an event on 11 March where businesses can discuss actions to tackle climate change.
  • EBRI's Biochar Workshop on 11 March will focus on the wide variety of benefits and uses of biochar including carbon capture, water treatment and soil improvement.
  • Aston University's workshop on the 11 March will provide an overview of the current challenges with logistics and transport operations to reduce environmental impacts and costs.
  • Birmingham City Council are running two meeting on their 'Route to Zero (R20)' on the 11 and 13 March at University of Birmingham on housing, and planning and redevelopment. 
  • SWM, in partnership with the Innovation Alliance, is running its 25th Innovative Low Carbon Working Group meeting on 12 March, hosted at the Advanced Propulsion Centre.
  • Energy Systems Catapult are running an 'Innovating to Net Zero' event on 12 March in London, where they will share their updated whole systems scenarios.
  • Climate Change Solutions is running its 16th 'Hydrogen Fuel Cell Convention' on the 17 March at the NEC.
  • Find it in Worcestershire breakfast networking event around boosting productivity featuring SWM and member Innovation Alliance, as well as keynote speaker from Microsoft.
  • SWM we have launched our 'Counting Down to Zero' event to explore the opportunities and challenges for the achievement of Net Zero emissions on 23 March in Coventry.
  • Meres and Mosses Business Environment Network's Refuse, Reduce, Recycle, Reuse event in Wem on 25 March looks at how a circular approach can be beneficial.
  • Aston University's student society WEST is running a 'Green and Sustainable Careers Fair' on 25 March in the Student Union and exhibitor spaces are available.
  • EBRI's Value from Waste - Master Class Courses on 25-26 March will provide exclusive content for leaders covering the technical and commercial fundamentals of bioenergy.
  • Fit for the Future's Energy Managers Meeting on 22 April is focused around Net Zero and includes a trip to the Houses of Parliament. There are limited spaces left. 
  • West Midlands Combined Authority will showcase their 'Thrive at Work/This Is Me' programme on the 22 April in Birmingham, looking at work place mental health and wellbeing.
  • Cenex's annual LCV event is on 9 and 10 September and sales are now open for exhibitors. Demand for space is already extremely high, so secure your stand now.

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

Other SWM and Member Updates 

  • SWM's competition to win annual membership for 2020 is only open for one more day! Get your application in now.
  • SWM has outlined how we can support you with your climate emergency declarations and meeting net zero targets. We also want to hear from you so we can share good practice.
  • SWM are running our 'Meet the Member' programme for 2020, we want to know what you've got planned for 2020 and how we can support you. Please get in touch if you'd like to meet up.
  • Mott MacDonald is looking for a Principal Environmental Consultant to work in Birmingham and provide a wide range of specialist environmental support to clients.
  • Staffordshire County Council is seeking a passionate and enthusiastic Sustainability Professional to join their multidisciplinary Waste Management and Sustainability Team.
  • City of Wolverhampton Council has opened a consultation on their ‘Future Generations – Our Climate Commitment' and you only have until 28 February to respond. 
  • Sandwell Council has opened an eight-week public consultation to 15 March focusing on Sandwell's Air Quality Strategy and Draft Climate Change Strategy.
  • West Midlands Combined Authority published its #WM2041 discussion document in relation to their target of net zero emissions by 2041; the consultation is open until 12 March.
  • Aston University EBRI requires a Knowledge Exchange Associate to join an academic and operational team to work with research teams and business.

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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