A Green New Deal for Birmingham

Oct 2012 – See Phil Beardmore’s blog for RAWM on how local Green Deal approaches are managing to incorporate the localised delivery approach we have been promoting.

Localise West Midlands, with consultancy Encraft, developed proposals for Birmingham City Council on a city-wide Green New Deal scheme. This is now the award-winning Birmingham Energy Savers – a national green new deal exemplar – and was approved by Birmingham City Council Cabinet at the end of January 2010.

The web link above will provide more up to date information, but the proposals approved in 2010 were for a £40 million retrofit project starting as a pilot across four areas of Birmingham. This innovative project was to offer whole house energy efficiency retrofits and solar photovoltaic installations at economic costs to private householders across the city, and was designed specifically to create jobs and business opportunities for local firms. The scheme was the first major project in the UK to use the ‘feed in tariff’ (a payment to householders/private operators for renewables contributions to the grid) as a mechanism to scale up installations, to enable domestic renewables across the social spectrum, and designed to become self-funding right across the city.

Importantly the Birmingham Green New Deal emphasised the development of local supply chains – fitting, supplying and manufacturing – particularly through small local businesses and social enterprises with training schemes. So there will be jobs created in local enterprise that meets local needs – good for redistribution and local economic empowerment as well as fuel poverty, energy security and low carbon economic development – a contrast to much inward investment orientated economic development that brings less local benefit in all these spheres.

Localise WM along with Encraft (as lead technical advisors) developed the business plan for the project over the last few months under the auspices of the City Council and were involved in steering the initiation of the project. This was the first proposal for delivery of the ‘retrofitting’ ideas outlined in the national Green New Deal report, and we were and remain delighted that the Council has so enthusiastically adopted these ideas.

News coverage:

Birmingham Post 18th Feb 2010

Birmingham Mail 22nd Jan 2010

Regen.net 22nd Jan 2010

The Stirrer 22nd Jan 2010 – raised important issues regarding potential debt situations for those participating in the scheme, which LWM has addressed here.