In November, Midlands Engine partners came together in a virtual workshop to share ambitions for how our region can lead the way in tackling the climate and biodiversity emergencies.
Right now, right across the Midlands, business leaders, academics and other key Partnership stakeholders are actively contributing towards green growth. The whole of the Midlands Engine is in the vanguard of pioneering environmental innovation, and by seizing the moment to capitalise on this, we have a clear opportunity to become the leading UK region driving green recovery and growth.
One in three jobs in the UK energy sector are based in the Midlands, and there is huge potential to increase our contribution in areas such as low carbon energy solutions and nature-based solutions for climate change, such as tree planting and rewetting of peatland.
Building upon previous Midlands Engine roundtables, which focused on clean energy and opportunities for growth, partners from business, local authorities, universities and non-government organisations were invited to take part in this recent high-level visioning session.
Opening the workshop, Sir John Peace, Midlands Engine Chairman, challenged participants to be bold with their ambitions for our region, commenting:
The Midlands was the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. Now, the health and wellbeing of our region’s people, economy and environment require a new revolution – a green revolution.
We are at the beginning of a critical decade for getting the Midlands on track for net-zero emissions by 2050. However, we will need to set bold ambitions now and take big steps forward in the 2020s. There is not a moment to lose – but with ambition and partnership working we can achieve transformational green growth.
At the heart of green recovery should be the natural environment and the resources and services it provides. Our natural capital, such as clean air, water, carbon capture, landscapes, forestry and minerals, provides a major part the at the foundations of our social and economic wellbeing.
Participating in the workshop, Andy Beer, National Trust Regional Director for the Midlands said:
The Midlands Engine ambition around Green Growth sets a clear direction for the region. Green Growth is about ensuring economic growth that looks after the natural assets. We need healthy ecosystems, that means investing in looking after our peatlands and river catchments, increasing woodland cover, and a healthy environment for people and for wildlife.
Paul Wilkinson, CEO Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust added:
The Midlands has world class landscapes that should be protected, connected, invested in and enhanced. Our landscapes are an important part of the Midlands fabric, places like Sherwood Forest, the White and Dark Peaks, the Shropshire Hills and Derwent Valley define the Midlands, they are important for wildlife and provide space for people to relax and connect with nature.
This workshop was an important step in working together in pan-regional and pan-sector partnership to agree a collective vision for the Midlands Engine. The message was clear: through partnership and innovation, we can lead the way in Green Growth.