Green economy growing in West Midlands

Firms in the West Midlands are increasingly looking at green industry to grow their businesses, a survey has revealed.

Some 70% of professional services firms see the low carbon and environmental technologies sector as a key growth area, according to the survey commissioned by business support hub West Midlands (WM) Knowledge.

Jo Miners, of WM Knowledge, said of the findings: "As a region with a strong focus on low carbon industries, the West Midlands has a leading reputation in advanced manufacturing, electric vehicle engineering, low carbon building and environmental technologies.

"But what we are starting to see is the knock-on growth in business advisory services that can provide the necessary support to these green economy companies."

Almost half (41%) of the more than 200 professional services firms surveyed reported they are already offering or developing specialised services in the green industry.

Birmingham based law firm Martineau is cited as an example. It launched its specialist energy practice in 1994 and says it has since seen it become one of its principal practice areas.

Catherine Burke, partner in the energy practice, said: "Our energy practice has seen tremendous growth in the past few years.

"Now we not only advise big players in the energy market but a vast range of clients looking to take advantage of the opportunities that the low carbon and renewables agendas have presented.

"Their involvement ranges from energy efficiency advice to large scale wind farm and biomass development."

The survey was carried out to analyse the region's strengths in the professional services community and identify new growth markets.

The study also surveyed more than 100 national privately held businesses, mainly in the manufacturing and engineering, construction and property and IT services sectors.

It found two thirds (67%) reported a growing or strong demand for low carbon industry focused services.

David Gibbs



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