The city council’s aspiration for Birmingham to become one of the world’s leading green cities will be spearheaded by a Green Commission, officially launched yesterday.
Members of the Commission have been drawn from across the business, academic and third sectors, including Prof Dame Julia King, Vice-Chancellor at Aston University, who is also a member of the Government’s Committee on Climate Change, which advises the Government on related matters.
Other members already confirmed include:
- Jerry Blackett, Chief Executive of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce
- Faye Scott of the Green Alliance
- Keith Sexton of Amey PLC
- Georgia Stokes of Northfield Ecocentre
- Andrew Bacon, Business Development Director (Public Sector) at British Gas
- Andy Deacon, Director of Delivery at the Energy Saving Trust
- Richard Moxon, a partner at Pennycuick Collins in Birmingham, Chairman of the RICS UK & Ireland World Regional Board and a member of the RICS Governing Council
- Richard Williams, Head of College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Birmingham
Cllr James McKay, Cabinet Member – Green, Safe and Smart City, at Birmingham City Council, has led the effort to create the Commission since his appointment two months ago.
He said: “Birmingham has definitely made some impressive strides on the green agenda over the last few years, but we need a clear plan and carbon and energy roadmap if we are to drive that progress forward at the pace we need to.
“We have a huge challenge before us, and the Green Commission will provide the focus we need, drawing on the very best expert knowledge on offer.
“The Commission will provide a platform for the best ideas to be shared and refined so the city benefits on many levels – environmentally, socially and economically.
“I am particularly pleased that we will have expert input to put before the first meeting of the Commission, from the Department of Energy and Climate Change under their Low Carbon Pioneer Cities project – and I look forward to their ongoing commitment to the Commission.”
Cllr McKay has cited the city’s acclaimed Birmingham Energy Savers programme as proof that a Commission is needed to accelerate the city’s green revolution.
He added: “Under the Birmingham Energy Savers programme, we could ultimately offer improved insulation and other environmentally-friendly measures to 200,000 homes.
“This is a major programme that offers significant benefits to citizens but will only result in a small fraction of the overall cuts in carbon emissions we need.
“We can’t take our eye off the ball – this is a great scheme, but we need many more projects of similar stature to meet the Government’s carbon reduction goal of 80 per cent by 2050.”
The Commission will meet on a regular basis, and one of its first pieces of work will be to review the whole of Birmingham’s carbon reduction targets, after a council audit report revealed the council itself could not accurately state its own cut in emissions.
Prof Dame Julia King, commenting on her appointment as a member of Birmingham’s Green Commission, said: “I am delighted to be involved in this important body, which will help progress the city’s low carbon commitments.
“Aston University itself is at the forefront of alternative energy research. This includes converting waste products such as sewage into renewable energy; hydrogen and electric vehicle research; and solar energy initiatives both in the UK and abroad.
“I will be drawing on these experiences and my own research in Government advisory capacities to help the Commission provide the best possible low carbon options for Birmingham, the region and beyond.”