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Our city and region is ready for you and your business. Explore this snapshot to find out why.


Connected city

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Connected city

We have regional, national, European and global connections. To keep us ahead £1.3 billion will be invested in our networks by 2015.

Easy access to 400 million people across Europe

90% of UK consumers are within four hours travel time

High Speed 2 rail  – London in less than 45 minutes 

50 airlines serving more than 140 routes worldwide


Multi-sector strengths

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Multi-sector strengths

Our talented people use their skills and expertise across a range of key sectors.

60% of the UK’s automotive R&D from the region

More BPFS companies than Zurich, Manchester and Edinburgh

23,700 people in architecture and engineering

500 medical technology companies, more than any other UK region


Space to breathe

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Space to breathe

Birmingham was voted best UK city outside of London for quality of life (Mercer Quality of Living 2012).


With more than 600 parks and open spaces and Sutton Park as one of the largest urban parks in Europe there is always space to breathe

Slow down. Explore more miles of canal than Venice

Secure future - 10 Local Nature Reserves and 156 designated nature conservation sites


World class city of culture

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World class city of culture

Indoors, outdoors, participate, watch or find space and quiet to get away from it all. You will always be able to relax and unwind.

Birmingham was ranked among the New York Times’ top 20 international destinations to visit.

Explore cuisine from more than 27 countries and dine in more Michelin star restaurants than any other English city outside London

More than 500,000 works of art in one square mile


High quality workforce

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High quality workforce

Our large talent pool is highly ranked now. It will stay that way.

4.3 million people of working age within an hour of the city

Over 300,000 students and 100,000 graduates within an hour’s drive of the city

A digital hub - for example 21% of the UK's games industry workforce is here

Nearly 1 million people speak a second language


Growth engine

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Growth engine

Our £94 billion regional economy will grow 20% by 2020

Innovative economic zones generating £1.5bn and 50,000 new jobs

Home to 75,000 companies, 1,190 of which are international

Our population will grow to 1.17million by 2018 (ONS)

Birmingham New Street helps move nearly 25million passengers annually

Europe's youngest city, with under 25's nearly 40% of our population


Bold regeneration

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Bold regeneration

We are investing £18 billion by 2026 in a bold 21st Century regeneration plan.

£1.3 billion will be invested in road, rail and air networks by 2015

£25 million is going in to the Digital Media Academy and £188 million on the new Library of Birmingham

£600 million redevelopment of New Street Station is underway

Environmental Technology

Greater Birmingham is increasingly becoming one of the world’s leading regions for inward investment, and is developing a strong profile as a preferred location for business within the Environmental Technologies sector. Already a leader in renewable energy, from low carbon fuels to waste management and bio-energy to solar photovoltaic, the region is progressing integrated transport infrastructure plans and delivering the largest domestic retrofit programme in the UK, with the ambition of becoming a model city region for sustainable development. 

Environmental Technology in Greater Birmingham

Greater Birmingham is a global centre of academic research excellence in low carbon and transport technologies with leading universities, colleges and science parks providing valuable expertise and technology transfer opportunities. Access to key assets including:

  • The Centre for Sustainability and Innovation and the European Bioenergy Research Institute
  • The Centre for Low Carbon Research and expertise in algae fuels, Products and storage, and hydrogen fuel cells (Birmingham City University)
  • The Premium Vehicle Customer Interface Technologies (PVCIT) Centre of Excellence (Warwick Manufacturing Group).
  • Birmingham University where the world's first affordable hydrogen fuel-cell powered mass transport vehicle was developed.
  • The West Midlands Low Carbon Vehicle Technology Project (Coventry University).
  • The continued expansion of the Birmingham Science Park Aston (part of the European Climate Knowledge Innovation Community).
  • A new building technologies training centre in Birmingham by JTL

The city of Birmingham is already ahead of its CO2 reduction targets; with a strategy successfully underway to reduce CO2 emissions by 60% come 2026 with some major investments in waste infrastructure. Birmingham City Council has a Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan 2012 and there is a supportive policy context at the GBSLEP with 20% of ERDF resource targeted at low carbon measures and the sector prioritised for growth (see earlier).

This provides a mandate to continue to pursue energy and resource efficiency measures. There are many examples where this is occurring already. Harper Adams  University supported Birmingham City Council on a major feasibility study into using waste heat from the region’s incinerators to create sustainable bio-fuel in the form of wood chips.

Key Strengths

Environmental Enterprise District

Greater Birmingham’s advantages as a region - its central position, connectivity and access to a substantial labour force – make it a location of choice for business, be it local, national or international. It is a region that makes things happen and is supported by major developers and investors as well as internationally renowned academic and research organisations.

However, in changing economic times it is essential for the region to focus on the areas in which it offers a competitive advantage. Developing clusters of high-growth sectors is part of Birmingham City Council’s strategy for economic growth. Within the city boundaries, six strategically important geographic areas have been identified as Economic Zones. Each one provides an exciting and bespoke business offer to accelerate development and support businesses as they start up or move into the city. Each Economic Zone can offer businesses simplified planning, access to finance, gap funding, business development programmes and tailored training and recruitment packages.  In addition, similar zones have been developed in the Black Country, Solihull and the Greater Birmingham area.

In the wider area, the Signal Point site lies to the south of the designated Environmental

Enterprise District and is available for development. It provides opportunities for larger inward investors, and for companies outgrowing premises in the traditional industrial area.

Tyseley Environmental Enterprise District (TEED)

To exploit the growth in resource recovery, energy production and low carbon technologies, Tyseley has been designated as the city’s Environmental Enterprise District. As an employment site, it will promote the creation of new environmental business parks at Tyseley Wharf and Energy Way.

The Tyseley Environmental Enterprise District (TEED) will become the principal location for the low carbon economy in Birmingham, encouraging recycling, energy production and renewables including manufacturing and supply chain development.

Many of the city’s waste management and resource recovery facilities at all scales of operation are located in inner city industrial locations such as Saltley, Bordesley Nechells and Tyseley, whereas the renewable energy and low carbon service sector and consulting companies typically have city centre locations.

Tyseley’s location, has continued over time to prove attractive to inward investors. An important industrial location, the area is synonymous with the Tyseley Energy Recovery Facility (ERF), which currently handles 350,000 tonnes (approximately 344,500 tons) of Birmingham’s municipal waste each year. Recent research has highlighted significant latent opportunities within local traditional employment sectors present in the area, and, importantly, within the growing environmental technology sector. 

The vision is to position Tyseley, as the Tyseley Environmental Enterprise District (TEED), as a ‘location of choice’ for the low carbon, low waste economy by encouraging resource recovery, renewable energy production and manufacturing and supply chain development.  It is estimated that the scope for redevelopment of currently vacant and under-utilised sites, comprising approximately 18.83 hectares (46.52 acres), has the potential to create 67,868 square metres (730,549 square feet) of floorspace, providing for 1,400 new jobs. The Tyseley Environmental Enterprise District benefits from an ERDF package to improve and create new enterprise space. 

The core industrial area of Tyseley is home to over 200 companies including Veolia, Grayson Thermal Systems, Europackaging and ThyssenKrupp Aerospace. Outside the core industrial area, the wider area also accommodates a number of significant businesses such as Specialist Computer Holdings as well as opportunities for investment and new development.

Businesses locating in the area will also benefit from the innovative approaches to low carbon energy production and resource recovery. Construction of the UK’s first biomass plant fuelled by waste wood has already started in Tyseley. The plant will produce 10.3 megawatts of electricity and divert 67,000 tonnes (approximately 66,000 tons) off waste from landfill. Once operational, in early 2016, the plant will produce enough electricity to supply 17,000 homes. Feedstock will be supplied under a ‘long term sustainable contract’ with local recycled wood pellet provider 7JM EnviroFuels Limited. 

Further afield, an anaerobic digestion plant at the Packington landfill site in Warwickshire is proposed.  Warwickshire County Council has granted planning permission to SITA UK to build a facility which will treat 50,000 tonnes (approximately 49,000 tons) of municipal, industrial and commercial organic wastes, such as food and garden waste per annum from the local area, including North Warwickshire, Nuneaton and Bedworth, Coventry and Solihull.  The plant will produce 1.6 megawatts of electricity, sufficient to power 2,800 homes, which will fed into the National Grid.

Research

University expertise is being used to develop an urban farm and bio-fuels technology centre on the site of the former HP Sauce factory, which will result in 250 new jobs and an educational visitor centre. 

Birmingham City University (BCU) is working with East End Foods, who are building a new

£35 million distribution hub, a technology centre and hotel on the site in Aston. The University’s

Faculty of Technology, Engineering and the Environment (TEE) has been researching the

use of algae to create an alternative fuel and this expertise will be used in the site’s Urban Farm.

  • Aston - University Bio energy
  • Aston – Sustainable Environment Research Group (Centre for Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Research)
  • University of Birmingham – hydrogen & future fuels
  • Birmingham City University – low carbon research. Research homes include: Bioenergy, Low Carbon Transportation, Intelligent Buildings, Supply Chain Logistics

Aston University European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI)

The European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI), based at Aston University in Birmingham, develops and provides practical bioenergy solutions for companies and local authorities in the West Midlands, UK, Europe and beyond.

EBRI delivers world-class research into all aspects of bioenergy. EBRI has been established since 2007 and bioenergy research has been taking place at the University from as early as 1978. EBRI was recently awarded £8.2 million from the European Regional Development Fund to build a new world-class facility for West Midlands businesses working in bioenergy technologies and component supply chain manufacturers to try out, test and get ready for market new products and processes within this field.

Business Suppport

EBRI works with businesses to ensure they are able to benefit from the opportunities created by technology by running regular events and workshops that are designed to meet the needs of business and help explore the benefits of bioenergy.

Technology

EBRI has developed an innovative bioenergy solution; a Pyroformer™ – unique because it uses multiple waste feedstocks to generate costeffective heat, power and other marketable products. The Pyroformer™ offers the potential for carbon negative heat and power generation.

Research

EBRI’s scientific, engineering and business-facing teams carry out research and knowledge transfer in all aspects of bioenergy and technology development. They provide collaboration opportunities for businesses to run trials and tests, evaluate waste sources and consider combinations of bioenergy processes prior to investment.

Birmingham City University Centre for Low Carbon Research

A rapid transition towards a low-carbon economy is a global priority if we are to reduce climate change due to increasing consumption of energy and to create a more sustainable society.

This needs close-to-market research to reduce the carbon emissions of existing technologies, fundamental research into alternative energy sources and reduction of energy demand. Such research requires a multi-disciplinary approach, combining technological expertise with an understanding of societal factors including public policy that govern uptake. This is a major focus of research funding from the EU and UK governments and research councils.

Key research themes include:

  • Bioenergy - The bioenergy research group combines fundamental research with business engagement, product and process innovation and knowledge transfer. The group is currently engaged in a number of applied research projects investigating the cultivation of biomass (microalgae) and its conversion into bioenergy (biofuels and biogas). The focus of this research is to improve the environmental sustainability and commercial viability of bioenergy production via the intergration of key technologies and processes.
  • Low carbon transportation - The Advanced Powertrain group within the University's Centre for Low Carbon Research is supporting research and development programmes in the areas of: Advanced Powertrain Control, Flexible Air Pressurisation Systems, Hybrid Electric Vehicles, Biofuels
  • Intelligent buildings - Buildings have a high relevance to our lives. The home, a hospital, a school, will all feature in our lives in some form or another in the future. Sustainable buildings are an interesting focus for the Centre for Low Carbon Research. The fulfillment of the Climate Change Act, requiring an 80% cut in CO2 emissions by 2050 will require radical changes to the way we live and work. Particular areas of interest include: Low Carbon Retrofit Design, Intelligent Systems.

Centre for Environment and Society Research

The Centre for Environment and Society Research (CESR), attached to the Birmingham School of the Built Environment, carries out applied research at the interface between the built and natural environment. We work across disciplinary and theoretical boundaries to tackle a range of complex policy challenges.

Research themes are:

  • ecosystem service governance
  • environmental and social change in multi-functional landscapes.

Case Studies

Arup

Arup is a world leading independent firm of designers,planners, engineers, consultantsand technical specialists offering a broad range of professional services. Founded in 1946 with an initial focus on structural engineering, Arup first came to the world’s attention with the structural design of the Sydney Opera House, followed by its work on the Centre Pompidou in Paris and also the Birmingham M6 Toll. 

Arup delivers solutions for waste to energy facilities and waste management strategies, alongside energy strategies, energy storage, carbon management, renewable energy supply and low carbon technology. The company led on the CABLED project which showcased ultra-low-carbon automotive technology as part of a UK-wide demonstrator programme. 

Established in 2001, Arup’s campus in Solihull is home to 500 employees. Known as the “Arup Campus”, the Solihull, Birmingham office on Blythe Valley Business Park is the result of Arup’s commitment to, and investment in, the Greater Birmingham region since 1968. Brought together from a wide range of disciplines, they encourage employees to look beyond their own specialism to achieve their clients’ objectives. This unconventional approach to design originates, in part, from its own structure – the firm is owned in trust on behalf of its staff. The result is an independence of spirit that is reflected in their work, in their dedicated pursuit of technical excellence, and the lasting value they create for their clients.

Veolia

Veolia Environmental Services Birmingham Limited is a project company, set up in 1993 to manage the domestic waste arising from the city of Birmingham, employing 12,000 people across the wide spectrum of environmental services. The company has a 25-year integrated waste management contract with Birmingham City Council, to operate as its strategic partner to deal with waste arisings, maximise recycling and produce Energy Recovery.

In 1996 Veolia Environmental Services Birmingham built a state-of- the-art Energy Recovery Facility in Tyseley, East Birmingham, taking 350,000 tonnes of rubbish each year and converting it into electricity. This energy production is enough to power 41,000 local homes.

Veolia chose Greater Birmingham as a key location because of its University based commitment to world-class research in areas such as bio-energy and future power systems. Veolia also assists Birmingham City Council in continuing to be one of the top-performing local authorities in terms of landfill avoidance and is targeting 40% recycling by 2026.

iRed Heating

iRed Heating Ltd is a designer and manufacturer of infrared heating products for homes and businesses based in the Sandwell area of Greater Birmingham and has gained a substantial European grant to develop both their product range and advance the innovation.  The iRed product range came out of a “mother” company Solar Install (UK) Ltd that has been established in the region for five years and is used as a vehicle to launch new technologies.

With access to great transport links, material suppliers and skilled labour, setting up production in the centre of UK manufacturing and home of the industrial revolution was an easy decision.  In its first year of operating, iRed has a dedicated showroom office and a separate production facility, capable of producing 3,000 panels per month, with available extensions adjacent to their site. The company has experienced good growth in a new sector of heating and expects to take its employment up before the end of the year. iRed Heating Ltd is proud to have developed ‘the only viable retro fit answer to fuel poverty’ and have a great future ahead in a facility only 300 yards from where James Watt developed his first steam engine.

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