At the Business Leader Awards, the Green Business of the Year award was given to Filwood Green Business Park in Bristol.
The annual awards are the most prestigious business awards in the South West and celebrate enterprise across small, medium and large companies.
In front of a packed crowd at the Bristol Hotel, Barra Mac Ruairi, Bristol City Council’s Strategic Director for Place, received the award, recognising the outstanding contribution of the business park to boosting employment in South Bristol.
Filwood Green Business Park is a highly energy efficient building with a comprehensive plan set around the obstacles developments of this kind face when trying to tackle their environmental performance.
• Guides for tenants on efficient operation of services;
• Extensive photovoltaic (solar) panels;
• The use of high performance building materials to reduce energy demand;
• Low water use appliances;
• Two green roofs, one of sedum and the other grass and wild flowers providing important microclimates for the area’s insect and bird life;
• Four dedicated ‘Fast’ electric vehicle charging points;
• Sustainable travel plan, including cycle storage and shower and drying facilities;
• Native tree planting, bird boxes and wildlife ecology zone.
Critical to the park’s success has been its commitment to a target of a 40% reduction in CO2, saving the equivalent of emissions from 276 double decker buses annually.
The design of the business park achieved BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ status earlier this year and was awarded with a “Highly Commended” judgement at the 2014 BREEAM awards. The building is designed to particularly support business productivity.
The concept of building a green business park came from the community during consultation on local regeneration as a part of the Knowle West Regeneration Framework, a plan that has been devised to bring jobs and investment to one of the most deprived areas of the city.
The business park is contributing to this plan by providing affordable, environmentally friendly office and workshop space for small businesses to base themselves from.
The park is currently home to 31 businesses, ranging from security firms to design companies, which are making use of 49 units.
Local involvement in the project continued beyond its original conception to be included in the design phase.
An initial design process involving members of the local community was followed by an intensive planning phase with local stakeholders’ contributions eventually leading to the final layout being agreed.
Many of the community’s ideas are now seen across the park, most spectacularly in the green roofs adorning the site.
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said:
“Business is booming in Bristol, but our challenge is that while we have a great story to tell, the city’s success is shared by too few people.
Business is booming in Bristol, but our challenge is that while we have a great story to tell, the city’s success is shared by too few people.
“Improving access to work and training for all, especially young people, is one way of tackling this. Projects such as Filwood Green Business Park are important not only because of what it delivers in sustainable terms, but also because it ensures Bristol’s success is felt beyond the city centre, in all parts of the city, including the most deprived areas.
“I want Bristol to flourish as a city in which everyone can participate in success and nobody is left behind.”
Councillor Helen Holland, Cabinet Member for Place with responsibility for the economy, said:
“Many congratulations and warm appreciation to the team at Filwood Green Business Park, who fully deserve this recognition of their achievements.
“The Business Park is an important project in the regeneration of South Bristol, bringing investment and opportunity to this part of our city. As well as providing a benchmark in sustainable design, it is a real example of what can be achieved through collaborative working.”
The £11.671 million funding for the project is in part met by Bristol City Council with £5.495 million coming from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and support from West of England Local Enterprise Partnership Revolving Infrastructure Fund, which is in turn supported by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund.
This development forms part of wider plans to regenerate Filwood Park, which is being led by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), and also includes provision for a new park and up to 150 new and affordable homes.
How the Auto Industry is Lowering Emissions
Currently, the automotive industry is undergoing an enormous change in a bid to lower carbon emissions. This has been pushed by the Government and their clean air plans, where they have outlined a plan to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040.
Public Health Crisis
It is said that the levels of air pollution lead to 40,000 early deaths in the UK, with London being somewhere that is particularly bad. This has led to the new T-Charge, where heavy polluting cars will pay a new charge on top of the existing congestion charge. Other cities have taken action too, with Oxford recently announcing that they will be banning petrol and diesel cars from the city centre by 2020.
It is clear that the Government is taking action, but what about the auto industry? With the sale of petrol and diesel plummeting and a sharp rise in alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is clear that the industry is taking note and switching focus to green cars. There are now all kinds of fantastic eco-friendly cars available and a type to suit every motorist whether it is a small city car or an SUV.
Of course, it is the cars that are currently on the road that are causing the problem. The used car market is enormous and filled with polluting automobiles, but there are steps that you can take to avoid dangerous automobiles. It is now more important than ever to get vehicle checks carried out through HPI, as these can reveal important information about the automobile’s past and they find that 1 in 3 cars has a hidden secret of some kind. Additionally, they can now perform recall checks to see if the manufacturer has recalled that particular automobile. This allows people to shop confidently and find vehicles that are not doing as much damage to the environment as others.
With the rise in sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is now becoming increasingly more common to see them on UK roads. Public perception has changed drastically in the last few years and this is because of the air pollution crisis, as well as the fact that there are now so many different reasons to switch to electric cars, such as Government grants and no road tax. A similar change in public opinion has happened in the United States, with electric car sales up by 47% in 2017.
The US is leading the way for lowering emissions as they have declined by 758 million metric tons since 2005, which is the largest amount by far with the UK in second with a decline of 170 million metric tons. Whilst it is clear that these two nations are doing a good job, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in order to improve the air quality and stop so many premature deaths as a result of pollution.
With the Government’s plans, incentives to make the change and a change in public perception, it seems that the electric car revolution is fully underway.
Consumers Investing in Eco-Friendly Cars with the UK Green Revolution
The UK public appears to be embracing the electric car UK Green Revolution, as recent statistics reveal that more and more consumers are making the switch from petrol and diesel to electric or alternatively fuelled vehicles. The demand for diesel fell by almost a third in October compared to last year, whilst hybrid and electric cars rose by a staggering 36.9%.
Time for UK Green Revolution Change
So, what is the reason for this sudden change? This comes down to the current situation in the UK, which has led to people embracing eco-friendly technologies and automobiles. One of the main reasons is the Government’s clean air plans, which includes the impending 2040 ban on petrol and diesel automobiles. There is then the rollout of the T-Charge in London, the city of Oxford announcing that they will be banning petrol and diesel from the city centre by 2020 and various other big announcements which take up a lot of space and time in the UK press.
In addition to this, the negative publicity against diesel has had a huge impact on the UK public. This has led to a lot of confusion over emissions, but actually, the newest low emission diesel automobiles will not face restrictions and are not as bad to drive as many believe. Most notably, German brand Volkswagen has been affected due to the emissions scandal in recent times. It was discovered that some emissions controls for VW’s turbocharged direct injection diesel engines were only activated during laboratory testing, so these automobiles were emitting 40 times more NO in real-world driving. As a result of this and all the negative publicity, the manufacturer has made adaptations and amended their vehicles in Europe. Additionally, they have made movements to improve the emissions from their cars, meaning that they are now one of the cleaner manufacturers. Their impressive range includes the Polo, Golf and Up, all of which can be found for affordable prices from places like Unbeatable Car.
The Current Market
The confusion over the Government’s current stance on diesel has clearly had a huge impact on the public. So much so that the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has called on the Government to use the Autumn Budget to restore stability in the market and encourage the public to invest in the latest low emission automobiles. SMMT believes that this is the fastest and most effective way to address the serious air quality concerns in this country.
One way that the Government has encouraged the public to make the switch is by making incentives. Motorists can benefit from a grant when they purchase a new plug-in vehicle, plus there are benefits like no road tax for electric vehicles and no congestion charge. When these are combined with the low running costs, it makes owning an electric automobile an appealing prospect and especially because there are so many great models available and a type to suit every motorist. One of the main reasons holding motorists back is the perceived lack of charging points. However, there are currently over 13,000 up and down the country with this number rapidly increasing each month. It is thought that the amount of charging points will outnumber petrol stations by 2020, so it is easy to see more and more motorists start to invest in electric cars way ahead of the 2040 ban.
It is an interesting time in the UK as people are now embracing the electric car revolution. The Government’s clean air plans seem to have accelerated this revolution, plus the poor publicity that diesel has received has only strengthened the case for making the switch sooner rather than later.