Birmingham City Council, the University of Birmingham and Tyseley Energy Park launched the vision for a new Green Innovation Quarter for Birmingham on 18 January 2023. This partnership will oversee the development of an area of 400 acres, 250 businesses and 8,000 people in a region which has historically been the Tyseley Environmental Enterprise District (TEED).
In the early 1900’s, this part of the city was an essential component of the industrial base which allowed Birmingham to thrive as the latest incarnation of the place of 1,000 trades.
The area was the location of manufacturing for the automotive and aviation sectors and strategically located at the intersection of the Grand Union Canal, the Great Western Railway and the road artery which is now the A45. Nearby communities housed workers from these industries and after the Second World War became the communities of Commonwealth families who came to the region to support its industrial regrowth.
It is in the Energy Park that Birmingham Energy Institute and the University of Birmingham has established the Birmingham Energy Innovation Centre, which has created a platform for a whole range of innovation and community engagement activities. The breadth of projects is enormous ranging from hydrogen and fuel cells to magnet and battery recycling to energy storage to a business incubator.Professor Martin Freer - Director of Birmingham Energy Institute & Cllr. Brigid Jones - Deputy Leader, Birmingham City Council
The East Birmingham Inclusive Growth Strategy recognises that investment into this part of the city has been lacking since those generations and there is a need to reinvigorate the resident communities, which have some of the highest levels of depravation, unemployment, and fuel poverty.
Tyseley is home of one of Birmingham’s longest surviving family businesses, Webster and Horsfall, who in 2020 celebrated their 300th year. They have been in this part of the city since 1850, where they established their wire-drawing and wire-rope manufacturing business and made the first successful trans-Atlantic cable. In recent times, the shrinking of their manufacturing base and the associated release of land has created Tyseley Energy Park, within the TEED.
It is in the Energy Park that Birmingham Energy Institute and the University of Birmingham has established the Birmingham Energy Innovation Centre, which has created a platform for a whole range of innovation and community engagement activities. The breadth of projects is enormous ranging from hydrogen and fuel cells to magnet and battery recycling to energy storage to a business incubator. This has also been a platform for working with the local community to redevelop the green space and local River Cole in a flagship project for the city.
The deep relationship these activities have generated between Birmingham City Council, Tyseley Energy Park and the University of Birmingham has created the opportunity to steer projects which will further develop the Green Innovation Quarter development of TEED. This will look to unlock large scale investment into the redevelopment the area and encourage leading organisations to locate themselves into the area, creating jobs and growth.
A three-partners steering group, chaired by Councillor Brigid Jones, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, has been established to steward the development. The steering group will oversee activities which:
- Create a sustainable working and living ecosystem which is recognised for its approach to net zero and sustainability.
- Link to the city’s East Birmingham Inclusive Growth Strategy to promote inclusive growth in TEED that will benefit both local communities and the wider Birmingham area.
- Collaborate with residents and businesses in the community to ensure the area is developed to the benefit of everyone.
- Build on current momentum to attract more businesses to the area to join the green energy revolution.
The success of this initiative will strongly benefit from the enthusiasm and involvement of University of Birmingham staff and students, in turn creating opportunities for the University to generate in a part of the city where the benefits will be highest.
In launching the vision, Councillor Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council, recounted Matthew Boulton’s line on the manufacturing of James Watt’s steam engine in the city: “I sell here, Sir, what all the world desires to have - power.” The aim now is for the Green Innovation Quarter to now be at the heart of the Green Industrial Revolution.
Professor Martin Freer - Director of Birmingham Energy Institute & Cllr. Brigid Jones - Deputy Leader, Birmingham City Council