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East Midlands leaders aim to put region "at forefront of green revolution"

East Midlands leaders aim to put region "at forefront of green revolution"

Roundtable hosted by Lloyds Banking Group and chaired by Jane Hunt MP asked how the East Midlands can take advantage of opportunities for sustainable growth

Political and business leaders from across the East Midlands have joined forces to discuss how they can come together to help supercharge the region’s sustainable growth.

Chaired by Loughborough MP Jane Hunt, the virtual roundtable was hosted by Lloyds Banking Group and also featured Midlands MPs Amanda Solloway, Darren Henry and Andrew Bridgen.

They were joined by Richard Holt, Director of Global Cities Research at Oxford Economics, to discuss the findings of its recent UK Green Growth Index report.

Oxford Econmics’ research commissioned by Lloyds Banking Group, found that the East Midlands has relatively high carbon emissions, in part due to the large amount of fossil-fuelled power generating capacity in the region, but also high carbon emissions from transport.

This is partly due to car use among commuters being high, with the lack of a dominant city in the region meaning less accessible public transport options. Indeed, 80% of East Midlands commutes pre-pandemic were by car, a figure which will have only increased, and transport currently accounts for more than a third (35%) of the region’s greenhouse gas emissions.

However, the findings also concluded that businesses’ innovations and the higher education courses on offer in green subjects created opportunities for green growth.

Jane Hunt MP said:

“It’s clear from this report that there’s plenty of room for us, collectively, to make a difference and be at the forefront of the green revolution.

“The government’s target to reach net zero by 2050, twinned with the ongoing rise in energy costs, means we’re on the cusp of a UK-wide green movement that the East Midlands must play its role in.”

Richard Holt explained that transport had a particularly large part to play. He said it was currently the region’s main emitter of greenhouse gases, but that there was an opportunity to transition to electric vehicles, buses and trams, as well as greater levels of walking and cycling among commuters.

Host Jo Harris, Lloyds Banking Group’s Ambassador for the Midlands, cited research carried out with small businesses that found that the majority recognise the importance of sustainability to their future success. However, lots of businesses they spoke to said they are daunted by the knowledge and investment required to take the actions needed to decarbonise their business, with almost 40% of firms citing the costs and fear of low returns on investment as a significant barrier to action.

She pointed out the range of products and support Lloyds Bank is offering to firms to help them transition to a low carbon economy. These include From Now to Net Zero: A Practical Guide for SMEs, along with its Clean Growth Financing Initiative, which provides discounted lending to help businesses invest in sustainable projects, and Green Buildings Tool, which enables firms to identify, evaluate and understand their property to make it more energy efficient.

She said:

“We know that our role as a bank is to offer a range of funding to fuel green activity, and we have we set our own ambitious goal of reducing the carbon emissions we finance by more than 50% by 2030 on the path to net zero by 2050 or sooner.”

“From making buildings more energy efficient, to building expertise through education and reskilling, now is the time for us all to drive change - as individuals, businesses and government leaders.”

Roundtable discussion: How will the East Midlands take advantage of green growth opportunities?

Jane Hunt MP – Conservative Member of Parliament for Loughborough
Andrew Bridgen MP – Conservative Member of Parliament for North West Leicestershire
Darren Henry MP – Conservative Member of Parliament for Broxtowe
Amanda Solloway MP – Conservative Member of Parliament for Derby North
Richard Holt – Director of Global Cities Research, Oxford Economics
Tim Lyne – Lead Economist, Oxford Economics
Jo Harris – Lloyds Banking Group Ambassador for the Midlands
Gary Lapthorn – Head of Sustainability & Responsible Business, Commercial Banking, Lloyds Banking Group
Paul Smith – Area Director, Leicester, Commercial Banking, Lloyds Banking Group
Jeremy Driver – Public Affairs Manager, Lloyds Banking Group

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