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Northern Powerhouse European Union

Sustainability project for North West LEPs sets out legacy

The Environmental Sustainability Technical Assistance project, which helped four North West Local Enterprise Partnerships to embed sustainability into their development priorities, has come to a close.

The Environmental Sustainability Technical Assistance (ESTA) project, which helped four North West Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) to embed sustainability into their development priorities, has come to a close. 

The project, delivered by ENWORKS and funded by the Environment Agency and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), ran from April 2012 to December 2014.

It provided technical assistance to maximise sustainability opportunities in the economic development priorities of the Cheshire and Warrington, Cumbria, Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region LEPs and their partners.

A team of experienced environmental practitioners worked with each LEP to develop a bespoke action plan and increase their capacities for engaging with upcoming ERDF structural funding for 2014-2020.

‘Critical role’

Todd Holden, director of low carbon policy and programmes at ENWORKS, said: “The ESTA project filled an important role in supporting LEPs to understand the critical role environmental sustainability plays in economic development. 

“By working with the region’s LEPs to maximise opportunities for sustainable economic development, the project has ensured that the North West is on a solid footing to use the upcoming European Programme to support business in the transition to a low carbon economy.”

Project outcomes

The project identified and commissioned nine pieces of technical research to inform the environmental sustainability priorities for the participating LEPs, which included:

  • Mapping the scale, activity and growth of the low carbon and environmental goods and services (LCEGS) sector in each area
  • Identifying ways in which public procurement activities can maximise opportunities for local companies in the LCEGS sector
  • Assessing the impact of previously funded ERDF projects on energy efficiency in social housing
  • Identifying the industrial and academic capabilities and expertise in water technology across the Liverpool City Region 
  • Developing a multiple activity ‘wedges’ approach to achieving Greater Manchester’s carbon reduction target of 48 per cent by 2020 against a 1990 baseline
  • Reviewing how effectively designed behaviour change activities can add value to low carbon policies and interventions in domestic and non-domestic settings
  • Evaluating the carbon impacts of food production and consumption to inform recommendations to promote sustainable food and tackle food poverty
  • Assessing the current and future climate risks and opportunities for key employment sites and sectors across the Liverpool City Region and Cumbria areas
  • Advising on how to embed environmental sustainability into new ERDF projects as they are being designed and developed.

‘Effective evidence base’

Commenting on the impact of the ESTA project to Greater Manchester, Mark Atherton, director of environment at the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA), said: “The ESTA project has provided a cost effective resource for the Greater Manchester Low Carbon Hub as we drive forward our transition to a low carbon economy. 

“The technical expertise and the additional research that the project has delivered have made a significant difference to the quality and effectiveness of our evidence base. 

“The project’s legacy will continue to help in the development of our future project pipeline.”

A summary of the ESTA project can be found here