Collaboration between city councils and the private sector will deliver breakthroughs in city scale sustainability, says the UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC), with increasingly devolved cities and regions filling the void left by Government policy.
The calls for collaboration follow a two day summit organised by the UK-GBC in partnership with Birmingham City Council, which saw 100 hand-picked delegates address sustainability issues from green infrastructure to boosting energy efficiency across the region.
Intensive workshops, designed to produce actions as well as ambition, were attended by Birmingham City Council and UK Green Building Council member businesses and organisations from the West Midlands and across the UK. The teams also visited three sites across Birmingham – Druid’s Heath, Icknield Port Loop, and Eastside & Curzon – to see some of the challenges and opportunities first hand, and meet communities affected by them.
UK-GBC’s city summits use the unique collaborative power of its membership – which spans investors, occupiers, developers, consultants, designers, engineers, contractors and suppliers – to address sustainability at a city level, grounding discussion of the issues in a real life scenario.
Birmingham City Council worked closely with UK-GBC to identify three topics to tackle:
- How to build a supply chain that can provide the city’s rapidly growing population with new homes and commercial developments that contributes to the city’s sustainability and economic goals
- How to achieve energy efficiency and low carbon retrofit across the city and region, following the demise of previous Government backed schemes
- Integrating nature in to new and existing developments – how to do it and how to frame the business case
Delegates developed a wide range of proposals including:
- A process which monetises the value of sustainability and incentivises land owners and developers to bring forward sites in Birmingham which might not otherwise be viable
- An initiative to encourage community ownership of Green Infrastructure
- Locally-led programme for real energy performance disclosure in commercial buildings
John Alker, Campaigns and Policy Director for UK-GBC, said: “There is a broad consensus that cities hold the key to both tackling environmental challenges and delivering a better quality of life for citizens. But despite big ambitions, local authorities can’t be expected to deliver this alone. It was abundantly clear over our two day summit that there is a huge appetite for collaboration from our industry-wide membership, who are brimming with innovative ideas needed to turn this ambition into reality.
“Devolution offers additional promise, but cities need to ensure that powers to influence sustainability are put squarely on the negotiation table. This could help cities offer the long-term vision and certainty over policy direction which is so lacking at a national level.”
Cllr Lisa Trickett, Birmingham City Council’s Cabinet Member for Sustainability, said: “Our approach to sustainability focuses on improving residents’ lives by building a strong economy through which we will create jobs and enhance the city environment. We have made a great start, but there are still have many challenges around fuel poverty, housing, connectivity and providing accessible high quality green space.
“The City Summit has helped us to engage a wide range of experts in what we can do to improve and accelerate our progress in this area and we also look forward to a continued working relationship with UKGBC.”
The Birmingham City Summit was sponsored by LGIM, Engie, and Rockwool.