The Green New Deal: following in Attwood’s footsteps . . .
Birmingham’s first MP Thomas Attwood wholeheartedly promoted measures which would increase employment, peace and prosperity, having seen the effects of growing unemployment upon ‘an affectionate people’ in Birmingham.
LWM consultant Jon Morris worked for six months to design and secure funding for the retrofitting project, with Matthew Rhodes, managing director of Encraft – an independent consulting engineering firm specialising in microgeneration, on site renewables and low carbon buildings.
They developed the business plan for a Green New Deal scheme, liaising with Keith Budden, manager of Birmingham Council’s Environmental Partnership.
Birmingham City Council approved the plan to help homeowners and businesses upgrade properties with energy-efficient fittings. Thousands of homes and businesses will be offered the chance to have significant energy improvements made to their properties both through insulation and small scale generation, which in the long term will leave them in profit.
The Green New Deal is one of the first large scale UK projects to take advantage of the feed-in tariff scheme for microgeneration in the UK. It will be launched initially as a pilot project in Aston, Lozells, Newtown and Northfield.
Matthew Rhodes said the scheme would benefit local construction and property firms which could deal with things like roofing and insulation, adding that the barrier to entry in the green market was much lower than many thought. “They don’t realise how small the investment is. They have often already got the skills because the skills are just competent roofing or insulation. The reality is you can be trained to install a solar panel within a week.”
Jon Morris, Matthew Rhodes and Keith Budden have been nominated for the 2010 Attwood Award to be presented by the Lord Mayor, after input on the implications of the project by industrialist Kirsty Davies, at the Council House in November.
Matthew comments that Green New Deal was very much a team effort and he personally appreciates an association with the tradition of Thomas Attwood, in whose spirit he feels that he has worked for the past twenty years – and doubtless will for the next twenty as well.