Jon Morris, Matthew Rhodes and Keith Budden, who jointly developed and promoted the innovative Birmingham Energy Savers scheme within Be Birmingham and the council right through to delivery, each received an Attwood Award on November 4th from the Lord Mayor, Len Gregory at a civic reception at the Council House.

The Birmingham Energy Savers scheme, now being delivered by the City Council, installs solar electricity generating panels and full insulation in homes. Those on low incomes do not pay for this and welcome the greater comfort and lower electricity bills.

The award celebrated the partnership between an NGO, a technical firm and local government: Jon is a consultant with the Localise West Midlands thinktank, Keith is Birmingham Council’s Environmental Partnership Manager, and Matthew is the Managing Director, of Encraft Ltd, an independent energy consultancy.

The 2010 Attwood Award was presented in recognition of their joint work on the scheme in the tradition of Thomas Attwood, Birmingham’s first MP, who promoted measures to boost the local economy, increasing employment, social harmony and prosperity.

Industrialist Kirsty Davies-Chinnock spoke about the project’s potential which has already generated widespread interest; speakers from Birmingham have been in demand across the UK as other local authorities and organisations are becoming interested in adapting the idea in their area. It was designed by Jon Morris and Matthew Rhodes to maximise the use of small scale local businesses in the installation and advice parts of the project, so creating local jobs and supply chains – which would have doubtless pleased Thomas Attwood.

Keith Budden of Birmingham Environment Partnership said “This scheme is a real win-win-win that supports local businesses, makes C02 savings, saves money on people’s bills and recirculates local money for local benefit”.  

Alderman Matt Redmond, introducing the awards, said: “As with Birmingham’s growth in the industrial revolution, our future green economy can be built on local enterprise. Schemes like this give us the mechanisms to do this.”

We appreciate the input from the Green New Deal Group which sowed the seeds in local minds here and in other areas and from its convenor Colin Hines, who is also the co-founder of Localise West Midlands.