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'Man Approaching Footbridge' by Flickr user Helen M Bushe

ESTA leaves legacy for Local Enterprise Partnerships

ESTA was established in 2012 to provide participating Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and their partners with technical assistance to maximise environmental sustainability opportunities associated with their economic development priorities.

The project was delivered through a combination of technical expertise provided by a small team of sustainable growth advisers, together with a discrete research budget which was used to demonstrate environmental sustainability opportunities, gaps and market failures. Local action plans were developed for each of the participating LEPs by the project’s sustainable growth advisers, with input from local project steering groups and wider stakeholders.

To shape the action plans, the ESTA team developed an initial environmental sustainability evidence base for each LEP in the context of existing and future economic development priorities. This was developed into a common framework for each LEP area, to ensure a consistency of approach. The project team developed a checklist approach to identifying gaps through a process designed to review economic development strategies, priorities and activities against a broad set of environmental sustainability issues.

An objective assessment was carried out using known data sources and local knowledge, to assess issues for the scale of their importance to the LEP from the perspective of both risks and opportunities to assess existing policy, strategy, projects or initiatives relevant to each theme.

Based on the information collected a graded gap analysis was carried out by triangulating the information collected and highlighting where knowledge, evidence, policy or action was missing. This proved to be a useful tool to promote discussion and debate with LEPs and their partners. In particular it established a common ground for the consideration of prioritised actions and enabled the LEPs to broaden their understanding of environmental sustainability.

Through an analysis, collaborative actions across multiple LEP areas were identified, which in turn helped to identify suitable areas of technical research to be funded via the ESTA consultancy budget.

As well as work to comprehensively map and stimulate growth in the Low Carbon and Environmental Goods and Services (LCEGS) sector, the ESTA project commissioned research on a wide range of topics including:

The economic impact of ERDF housing projects

Assessing the economic impact of previously funded ERDF projects on energy efficiency in social housing, this project highlighted a number of useful lessons for future projects, including appropriate technology selection for different circumstances and the importance of consistent and transparent quantification methods, both for economic metrics such as jobs as well as for CO2e.


The water innovation capacity of Liverpool City Region

This research identified the industrial and academic capabilities and expertise in water technology across Liverpool City Region to support future specialism and growth in this sector. It focused on the key strengths and opportunities for further innovation and growth and provided recommendations for delivering those opportunities.


Developing a wedges approach for carbon emissions reduction in Greater Manchester

This report uses the wedges approach to illustrate how carbon emissions reductions in Greater Manchester can meet a 48% reduction target by 2020 against a 1990 baseline. The wedges approach is anchored on the central thesis that no one single activity (or policy measure) will be able to stabilise carbon emissions by itself. Rather, stabilisation will be attained through a combination of various activities. The focus is therefore on the aggregated impact that a number of measures can potentially bring to contribute to the stabilisation of carbon emissions over the medium to long-term.


Building the evidence base for behaviour change interventions to reduce GHG emissions in businesses and households

This report provides a comprehensive evidence review of how effectively designed behaviour change activities can add value to low carbon policies and interventions to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) in business and households. As well as delivering bespoke reports relevant to the activities and priorities of the Greater Manchester and Cheshire & Warrington LEPs, a third, non-geographic related report has been produced providing useful information and guidance for all LEPs and their partners who are considering designing behaviour change programmes.


A review of the evidence base to promote sustainable food

This strand of work reviewed the evidence base for sustainable food production and consumption and the development of recommendations to promote sustainable food within LEP areas. This work primarily focused on the GHG impacts and mitigation measures, which were complemented by analyses of impacts in the areas of water, land and energy. The approach incorporated the impacts of food production, as well as life cycle impacts (field to waste) of food consumption. As well as identifying ‘at scale’ interventions on GHG, the project also identified interventions that will have positive impacts on food and fuel poverty.


Assessing climate risks and opportunities for strategic growth sites for the Liverpool City Region and Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnerships

This work produced assessments of current and future climate risks and opportunities for strategic employment sites and key growth sectors across Liverpool City Region and Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership areas. This project utilised a methodology developed through a Defra-funded pilot in the Cheshire and Warrington area, to provide a consistent approach across the two participating LEP areas.


Developing advice to project applicants on embedding environmental sustainability into ERDF projects

A key resource produced by the ESTA project is a simple but compelling ‘advice note’ aimed at project applicants to help them to embed the sustainable development cross-cutting theme into new ERDF projects as they are being designed and developed. This will hopefully prove to be a key reference as applicants develop projects under the 2014-200 ERDF programme.


All of these research reports which are now available here on the ESTA website, and you can find the final Advice Note on the ESTA project here

Main image by Flickr user Helen M Bushe published here using a Creative Commons licence.