Low-carbon manufacturing and goods are now the West Midlands’ fastest-growing sector, according to newly published research.
Figures show that the region’s low-carbon industries grew by more than seven per cent in 2020 despite a nine per cent downturn in the wider West Midlands economy as a result of the covid pandemic.
The new research, commissioned by the West Midlands Growth Company, found one of the pillars behind developing low-carbon industries in the region was how its traditional sectors such as manufacturing, automotive and energy supply were looking to reduce carbon themselves.
The low-carbon sector now employs close to 100,000 people across the West Midlands which also has a far greater concentration of workers in certain ‘green’ industries than many other parts of the UK.
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Coventry and Warwickshire alone employs 28 times the UK average in electricity transmission jobs, the Black Country five times the average in securing recycled materials and Birmingham and Solihull five times the average in building management systems and activities.
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said: “The West Midlands is already the manufacturing heartland of the UK and is world-leading in the automotive and energy storage industries.
“Now, we’re ready to seize the initiative and become the home of the green industrial revolution.
“This research suggests that’s exactly what we’re doing and shows that, by reducing carbon across the region, we’re also creating significant economic opportunities for businesses to thrive, invest and create new jobs for local workers.
“Given the jobs we’ve lost to the pandemic, this is critical. Our regional ambition is to be net zero by 2041 and that means growing our low-carbon sectors even faster and creating even more jobs and opportunities for local businesses.
“We need to come together as local authority partners, alongside central government, to set out the policies that will generate even more opportunities for innovation, commercialisation and new jobs.”
Henrietta Brealey, chief executive of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, added: “It’s great to see rapid growth in the low-carbon technology sector.
“Local businesses and industry are grasping the opportunity that the net zero transition can bring.
“By utilising wherewithal from the region’s industrial past, these businesses are positioning the West Midlands as the home of the new, green industrial revolution.
“The region is home to world-leading innovation and manufacturing capability and key sectoral strengths.
“This makes it well-placed to meet the challenges that come with the net zero transition and build on its competitive edge to increase economic growth.”