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Sustainability West Midlands

SWM News June 2020 - Let's talk sustainability

After an initial hiatus of sustainability activity at the start of the lockdown associated with COVID-19, we are now seeing a surge in activity, with much of this following a common theme: supporting individuals to act in a more sustainable way by improving their ‘carbon literacy’ and making information and advice easily accessible. This all contributes to ‘green recovery’ which is the ambition as we look to support the economy coming out of lockdown.

SWM and many of our members and partners have been leading the way in these areas for some time and we have lots of resources that can help you.

At a national level, we have been working with the Committee on Climate Change to advise on how the next UK Climate Change Risk Assessment can be more accessible to government, its primary audience. We’ve also been supporting the Heritage Fund since March 2018 and recently delivered a webinar for their staff and applicants for their funding.

Locally, we’re working with various organisations to help their teams embrace sustainability and contribute to internal objectives and targets. We recently delivered a webinar with our members West Midlands Combined Authority and Mott MacDonald, discussing how we can ‘Raise ambition and improve stakeholder engagement using the SDGs‘. We hope that the 50+ attendees went away with some ideas for action.

We’re working with various local authorities including Wolverhampton and Worcester to help engage internally and externally on their sustainability strategies and action plans. We recently delivered an online webinar for a large business in Warwick aimed at showcasing personal action on sustainability. 

We’re encouraged to see so many organisations investing the time and money in supporting their people to both understand why sustainability is important to all of us, and also to take action and achieve sustainable outcomes.

There are many more examples on our website which we hope to provide useful information for anyone wanting to support their teams and organisation.

Read a full version of the above comment here.

Anna Bright, Chief Executive, on behalf of the Sustainability West Midlands Team

Funding Opportunities

  • By 30 June 2020. National Lottery Heritage Fund has put together a £50m fund to support the heritage sector as an immediate response to the coronavirus outbreak.

  • By 1 July 2020. Innovate UK is investing up to £30m in innovation projects as part of phase 2 of the ISCF Future Flight Challenge, a four year £125m programme.

  • By 8 July 2020. Up to £30m is available to support growth in advanced low carbon propulsion capability in the automotive sector.

  • By 16 September 2020: Up to £800,000 is available to fund  projects to reduce the harm that plastics have on our environment and to increase productivity and growth of the UK economy. 

  • By 16 September 2020: Up to £20m is available to develop and demonstrate innovative solutions for clean, affordable and secure energy in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia or South East Asia.

  • By 19 October 2020. The MCS Charitable Foundation is making funding available for a range of projects that accelerate the adoption of renewable energy and low carbon technologies.

  • 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 Grant Scheme allows 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 June 2023. Coventry City Council has extended a further £8.1 million of funding to support small and medium-sized business in Coventry and Warwickshire.

  • By 2025. The Severn Trent Community Fund is temporarily closed until summer 2020, while some of the fund is re-aligned to support charities directly affected by coronavirus.

  • 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 is encouraging applications to the Urban Tree Challenge fund, which has £10 million available for the planting of trees in urban areas of England. 

  • On-going. Community Led Homes funding is available to groups at every stage of the community-led housing journey up to when the project is completed.

  • On-going. Coventry City Council is providing a Workplace Charging grant to encourage local businesses to install electric vehicle charging points. 

  • On-going. Government unveils £200 million package to help innovative businesses bounce back from Covid-19.

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

Upcoming SWM and Member Events

Due to the current restrictions on travel and work as a result of coronavirus, some events may be subject to cancellation or rescheduling. SWM do not organise these events and we urge you to keep a close eye on our events page for any updates.

  • SHAP's second webinar in their current series, taking place on 30 June, will be a focused and informative live event for all those working in sustainable housing and fuel poverty issues.

  • Innovation Alliance for the West Midlands is running an online event titled 'Accelerating to Recovery – private sector support for innovation and growth,' which will be held on 2 July.

  • SWM, in partnership with the Innovation Alliance is running the next Innovative Low Carbon Working Group meeting, focusing on the WMCA Green Recovery, on 7 July.

  • Energy Systems Catapult is hosting a webinar on Smarter and More Flexible European Energy Systems on 7 July.

  • The University of Wolverhampton is hosting its annual International Conference on Construction Futures on 7 July.

  • The University of Birmingham is hosting a webinar on 'Responsible Business: Achieving & Leading Equality & Diversity in Challenging Times' on 9 July.

  • Worcester City Council is inviting businesses and other organisations to have their say on its draft Environmental Sustainability Strategy on 14 July.

  • University of Birmingham's Birmingham Energy Institute is running an 'Energy from Waste & the Circular Economy – a Birmingham Policy Commission' webinar on 29 July.

  • Energy Systems Catapult is hosting a webinar on smart local energy systems and how can they support the UK’s transition to Net Zero on 30 July.

  • SWM will be exhibiting at RWM, the UK’s largest trade show for recycling and waste management, taking place on 3 & 4 November.

  • sbef is hosting a series of forums on 12-13 November, with two of those forums being chaired by SWM's own Anna Bright.

  • Cenex's annual LCV event is on 18-19 November (revised dates) in Millbrook and sales are now open for exhibitors. Demand for space is already extremely high, so secure your stand now.

  • SWM is supporting Solar & Storage Live, the UK’s largest renewables expo taking place 2–4 December, including over 520 participations at the event’s Innovation Zone.

  • The Environment Agency will convene its annual Flood & Coast conference on 8-10 December in Telford, tackling the challenges of flood risk, resilience and response in a changing climate.

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

Other SWM and Member Updates 

  • SWM welcomes new member carbonTRACK, who specialises within the energy management and clean tech efficiency sector, through smart IoT hardware and software solutions.

  • SWM welcome our new Volunteer Communications Officer, Luca Mitchell, who joins us for a summer placement.

  • SWM welcome our new Board Director, Nicola Templeton, who is Director of Business Development at Business in the Community.

  • SWM has launched a new SWM Members-only Forum! To gain access, join us as a member.

  • SWM has published new case studies of our recent work with the Committee on Climate Change and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

  • Bryt Energy released their May newsletter 'Insight' recently. You can view it here.

  • Bryt Energy has provided information on energy health, a potential low carbon future and the business electricity market during Covid-19.

  • Bryt Energy has recently helped the University of Sheffield make the switch to zero-carbon and 100% renewable energy. 

  • Thermal Recycling was awarded the Innovate UK Smart Grant from UK government. We would like to congratulate them on this achievement. Read more on what this means here.

  • West Midlands Combined Authority is asking business leaders to provide their support to its proposal to central Government to 'recharge the West Midlands' post Covid-19.

  • West Midlands Combined Authority has begun work on the autonomous vehicle trial route from Coventry to Birmingham, with it being trialled on urban, rural, suburban and highway roads.

  • West Midlands Combined Authority has revealed its green recovery plan for the West Midlands unveiled post-Covid-19.

  • Transport for West Midlands has released their travel guidance for businesses as part of their Covid-19 response. Read more here.

  • Energy Systems Catapult released an article on Energy from Waste Plants UK with Carbon Capture, and has also published a Digitalisation for Net Zero report.

  • Energy Systems Catapult currently has several job vacancies available.

  • University of Birmingham has begun construction on the new renewable energy research and innovation centre that will cost £7 million.

  • SHAP is appealing for funding for their crowdfunding campaign to help tackle fuel poverty.

  • Staffordshire County Council has a volunteering opportunity for their new Waste Savvy Staffs campaign helping spread the message of waste reduction.

  • QSA Partners has released a report which investigates: Does buying pre-loved clothing mean buying less new?

  • sben has released its handy sustainability legislative update for June 2020.

  • Keele University has set up a New Enterprise Bootcamp to support innovative and ambitious entrepreneurs and business owners, commencing in July 2020.

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

  • Committee on Climate Change released its latest Reducing UK emissions: 2020 Progress Report to Parliament last week.

  • UK Government has announced that the COP26 UN climate conference will now take place between 1 and 12 November 2021 in Glasgow.

  • UK Government has released plans to replace the current EU system for trading carbon emissions as the transition period for the UK to leave the EU comes to an end.  

  • UK Government has launched an England Tree Strategy Consultation to find out views to increase tree establishment and woodland creation.

  • NHS England has a job vacancy available for Director of Sustainable Development. The deadline is tomorrow, so hurry!

  • Climate Outreach has published 'Communicating climate change during the Covid-19 crisis: what the evidence says.'

  • The Green Gown Awards 2020 is inviting applications to recognise those educational institutions, both large and small, that have made a difference. The deadline is now 9 September.

  • Tech Nation has launched Net Zero Growth Programme. it is for companies who are paving the way to helping to reach the UK’s net zero targets by 2050 and is now seeking applications.

  • Climate Launchpad is continuing with its competition that will enable green business ideas to develop.

  • Women in Sustainability Network is hosting a webinar covering how you can use sustainability principles to provide solutions using a language to engage people on 1 July.

  • Advanced Propulsion Centre UK is hosting a week-long webinar series focused on sustainability and life-cycle analysis in the automotive industry between 6-10 July.

  • Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce is hosting a Virtual Sustainability Forum on 10 July.

  • Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Enterprise Partnership's report explores what economic recovery from Covid-19 would look like, whilst supporting our communities and businesses.

  • BOSF and Birmingham City Council has revealed its proposals for the Future Parks Accelerator Project.

  • GreenScies is a project for a New Smart Energy Grid funded by Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

  • UK 100 has launched the new Countryside Climate Network, a network of rural councils with the aim of influencing national policy to reflect the needs of countryside councils.

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

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. In order to avoid this email going into spam, please add us to your contacts list.

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