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Midlands Engine: Region ready to ‘lead’ on UK’s green economic recovery

23 September 2020

The Midlands is ideally placed to spearhead the Government’s vision to build a stronger, better and greener economy, according to a new report.

Partners from across the Midlands recognise the need for collective action to drive down carbon emissions – and that achieving net-zero must be centre-stage as we plan for post-pandemic economic recovery. A report published today highlights some of the actions needed now – to achieve sustainable green growth, capitalising on the powerful partnerships, cutting-edge research, sector leadership and business innovation which already exists across the Midlands.

Building back stronger, better and greener in the Midlands, published by the Midlands Engine in partnership with Browne Jacobson, also identifies key areas that require urgent focus and investment:

  • Energy generation and storage
    The Midlands Engine is as an established centre of excellence for energy research and innovation - investing now in a broad range of alternative energy technologies will accelerate energy innovation and the growth of clean industry.
  • Transport innovation
    The Midlands is at the heart of the UK’s transport network, with 80% of all UK freight passing through the region. Targeted investment is essential to underpin delivery of sustainable transport solutions, including greater investment in a range of alternative fuel sources and enabling the shift of freight from road to rail, to reduce CO2 emissions at the fastest possible rate.
  • Digital connectivity
    With the UK’s first multi-city 5G testbed already in the West Midlands and benefits of scale ahead linked directly to 5G and IoT technologies, the Midlands Engine needs investment now to level up our economy and reap the extensive and low carbon benefits that enhanced connectivity would deliver to every businesses and every community.
  • Skills for growth
    Retraining and upskilling our workforce as we make the shift to a green economy is critical; today, one third of all jobs in the UK energy sector are based in the Midlands – reskilling and advancing the extensive skill set of our valued ‘green collar’ workforce is key.

Sir John Peace, Chairman of the Midlands Engine, who will spearhead the region’s case for greater public investment to Government in the coming months, said:

“The Midlands Engine Partnership is ready to play a central role as we champion the impressive and proven capabilities of our region, to enable a green recovery.

“Our region was the birthplace of the industrial revolution and there is no question that today we have the industry expertise, skills and leadership needed to be at the heart of the next ‘green’ revolution.

“However, significant public investment is needed now to ensure our businesses, academic institutions and public sector partners, working together, are best equipped to truly accelerate sustainable green growth.”

Peter Ware, Head of Government at Browne Jacobson, who co-authored the report, added:

“Our recent roundtable demonstrated that the Midlands has all the strengths, capabilities and assets needed to play a leading role in driving the UK’s green recovery.

“The pandemic has presented us with a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity to build back stronger, better and greener.

“With a combination of public and private sector investment in these four key areas we can truly transform the region, generating high value, skilled jobs in new industries whilst decarbonising existing industry.”

Building back stronger, better and greener in the Midlands followed a recent high-profile roundtable led by Midlands Engine and attended by Aston Martin Lagonda, Bosch Thermotechnology Ltd, Gallagher Bassett, Serco, Staffline, Standard Chartered, University of Birmingham, Loughborough University, D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, Make UK, TechUK and Browne Jacobson.

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