Chesterfield FC pledges support to Plastic Free Chesterfield

Chesterfield FC and Chesterfield FC Community Trust have both signed up to become Plastic Free Allies.

Joining forces with Plastic Free Chesterfield, both organisations are pledging to reduce their plastic waste and move away from single-use plastic to alternate solutions.

Greg Hewitt, the community lead at Plastic Free Chesterfield, said: “We’re incredibly delighted to have the support of Chesterfield Football Club and Chesterfield FC Community Trust.

“The work they do in schools, raising awareness of single-use plastic pollution is inspirational, and it is fantastic that they now wish to take this a step further by signing up to our campaign and look at reducing single-use plastics at the football club.

“Their support is a huge step forward in our campaign to make Chesterfield an accredited Plastic Free Community.”

“We now look forward to being able to support the club in their efforts as well as being able to work in partnership to develop the schools outreach work on plastics, and to roll this out across all Chesterfield schools. We encourage schools to get in touch to request this.”

Martin Thacker, co-vice chairman of the football club and a trustee of the Community Trust, signed the pledge on behalf of both organisations. He said: “We are very happy to support the work being done by Plastic Free Chesterfield to reduce the use of single-use plastic in order to protect the environment.”

Recently, Destination Chesterfield also pledged it’s support for Plastic Free Chesterfield.  Destination Chesterfield Manager, Dom Stevens said: “In 2021 we’re encouraging businesses across Chesterfield to see if they’re able to make changes to their plastic use. If we all work together then, collectively, we’ll make a big difference in reducing the environmental impact on the rivers and beautiful local landscape here in North Derbyshire.”

Chesterfield Football Club supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Local businesses called on to go plastic free in 2021

Destination Chesterfield is calling on businesses in the borough to go plastic free in 2021.

The town’s marketing organisation has signed up to become a Plastic Free Ally of Plastic Free Chesterfield, a campaign group working to reduce single-use plastics in the borough. The group is part of over 700 other similar Plastic Free groups coordinated by national charity, Surfers Against Sewage.

Destination Chesterfield now wants businesses to follow its lead and become part of the local effort dedicated to minimising the town’s contribution to the single-use plastic crisis.

Becoming a Plastic Free Ally means Destination Chesterfield will now be plastic free at the many events, ceremonies and conferences it organises each year as well as in its day-to-day activities.

Amongst the many changes Destination Chesterfield will make, single-use plastic cups and coffee cups will be swapped for glass and china glasses and mugs for drinks, metal cutlery will be used instead of single-use plastic cutlery and paper, and card or cotton bags will replace single use plastic bags at events.

The four-strong Destination Chesterfield team have also all personally pledged to use refillable bottles or cups instead of single use plastic water bottles.

Dom Stevens, manager of Destination Chesterfield said: “We’re excited to be working in partnership with Plastic Free Chesterfield. We hope members of the town’s business community will now join us in our mission to reduce the impact of plastic on our environment, both locally and globally.

“In 2021 we’re encouraging businesses across Chesterfield to see if they’re able to make changes to their plastic use. If we all work together then, collectively, we’ll make a big difference in reducing the environmental impact on the rivers and beautiful local landscape here in North Derbyshire.”

Greg Hewitt, Plastic Free Chesterfield Community Lead commented: “We’re delighted to have the support of Destination Chesterfield, with the amazing work they do to support local businesses here in Chesterfield. It comes at a fantastic time for our group, which last year resulted in 50 Chesterfield businesses signing up to become Plastic Free Champions, as well as Chesterfield Borough Council officially backing our campaign.”

A number of businesses have already become Plastic Free Champions, including The Pekoe Café at Northern Tea Merchants, R.P Davidson Cheese Factor, Shop Indie in Vicar Lane Shopping Centre and Chesterfield High Street Awards winner Steph’s Sustainable Stuff.

Greg added: “We now look forward to working with both Destination Chesterfield and Chesterfield Borough Council to reach out to and sign up even more businesses, particularly those with 100 or more staff, where a business representative must join our Steering Group if we are to officially become an accredited Plastic Free Community.”

Businesses that wish to join Destination Chesterfield and become a Plastic Free Champion or find out more about reducing plastic consumption in their organisation, should visit https://plasticfreechesterfield.org.uk/businesses

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Chesterfield residents encouraged to take a New Year’s Resolution to reduce plastic pollution

Single-use plastic campaign group, Plastic Free Chesterfield, is encouraging Chesterfield residents to take a Plastic Free New Year’s Resolution Pledge, helping to reduce plastic pollution by making at least one swap away from single-use plastics in 2021.

The issue has been high up the agenda recently, with Chesterfield Borough Council passing a motion earlier in December, taking the pledge themselves to remove single-use plastics from council operations, along with supporting Plastic Free Chesterfield and future plastic-free initiatives.

2020 proved to be a mixed year for the issues of plastic pollution, with single-use face masks and gloves littering our environment and waterways due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and later in the year the UK government officially banned plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds.

Destination Chesterfield and a number of local businesses, initiatives and community groups have pledged to become ‘plastic free champions,’ aimed at cutting single-use plastics from their products and operations.

Plastic Free Chesterfield are now calling on residents to take action themselves, publishing ideas for swaps on their website as well as social media.

Greg Hewitt, Plastic Free Chesterfield Community Lead, said: “The New Year is a perfect time to start thinking about what more can be done to reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in landfill, or worse in our streams, rivers and oceans.”

“We want to make it as easy as possible for Chesterfield residents to take action, and are encouraging everyone to make at least one swap away from using single-use plastic. This could range from bringing your own reusable bags when going shopping, to reusing and refilling cleaning products and pantry goods from Plastic Free Champion and award-winning businesses such as Steph’s Sustainable Stuff.”

The group has published 21 Ideas for New Year’s Plastic-Free swaps. This can be found via the Plastic Free Chesterfield website:
21 Ideas for 2021: New Year’s Plastic-Free Swaps

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Funding given to restore stretch of Chesterfield Canal at Renishaw

£50,000 has been awarded to a project aimed at restoring and extending a derelict canal channel in Renishaw. The ‘Rewatering Renishaw’ scheme will transform the stretch into a permanent water space that local people can enjoy.

Approximately 500m of the Chesterfield Canal channel was restored through Renishaw, Derbyshire in 2010, as part of a housing development. However, due to various issues, the stretch proved to be unuseable. It delivered little benefit to the newly created community on the housing estate and the wider Renishaw community.

This project is part of Phase 1 of the Chesterfield Canal Trust’s ambition to restore the canal to full navigation by 2027. This will be the 250th anniversary of the canal’s original opening. The complete Phase 1 works will extend the current limit of navigation from the town of Staveley to the village of Renishaw. They will also include the construction of three new accommodation bridges, four new bridleway bridges, a lock, a railway overbridge, an aqueduct and approximately 5km of new or restored channel.

The entire Phase 1 of the project will take several years to complete. It will require over £4m to be raised. The works at Renishaw (Phase 1a) can be completed much earlier and provide lasting benefits to the community. These will be felt long before either the Phase 1 works are completed, or it forms part of a fully restored waterway. This lasting and standalone benefit from an interim restoration stage is a prime example of the Waterways in Progress philosophy.

The grant, with additional funding from Chesterfield Canal Trust and Derbyshire County Council, will allow the trust to undertake the following Phase 1a work:

  • 550m of canal channel re-profiled to navigable standards.
  • 1,050m of canal channel relined using a geosynthetic clay liner.
  • 250m of stone gabions installed in the canal banks and waterproofed by casting a concrete face up to the water level.
  • Clinker Wood side weir restored and a temporary pumping system provided to supply water from the River Rother to the canal.
  • 550m of towpath resurfaced, making it suitable for pedestrians and cyclists. The current path is virtually impassable despite being the official public right of way.
  • A further 915m of towpath resurfaced to provide a circular 2.5km surfaced route incorporating the Trans-Pennine Trail.
  • Eight picnic benches, made from recycled plastic. These will be installed across two locations along with three standard benches in other areas of the scheme. Two of the picnic benches will be suitable for wheelchair users.
  • Installation of signage to encourage users of the Trans-Pennine Trail to explore the canal and the village. Plus the provision of 12 cycle stands to allow cyclists to secure their bikes.
    Additional Works
  • Alongside the above works, the project partners plan to deliver the following additional works to futureproof the canal for navigation:
  • 210m of concrete and masonry wash walling constructed around Black’s Pit corner, in order to protect the banks around this tight turn.
  • 285m of steel piling installed to the south of Barlborough Road Bridge, to provide future visitor moorings.

Trust Secretary Rod Auton said: “This is great news for the Trust and even better news for the residents of Renishaw. The canal looked great when first restored in 2009, but has since become an eyesore. We will now be able to restore and extend it on both sides of Barlborough Road and keep it looking wonderful with a regular water supply. It is even possible that it could be connected to Chesterfield within a couple of years, if the necessary funding can be secured.”

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Chesterfield community group to provide ‘Tips for a Plastic Free Christmas’

As the festive season gets underway, single-use plastic group, Plastic Free Chesterfield, are launching their new campaign providing tips on how to have a greener, plastic-free Christmas.

With so much excitement surrounding many elements of Christmas, being environmentally conscious can sometimes be difficult to think about.

Research shows that waste can double during the Christmas period, and most of it is plastic from gift wrapping and packaging. In the UK we go through more than 40 million rolls of (mostly plastic) sticky tape every year, and use enough wrapping paper to go around the Equator nine times. Along with this around 125,000 tonnes of plastic wrapping used for food is discarded over the festive period.

Plastic Free Chesterfield is working to create a plastic free community in Chesterfield with Surfers Against Sewage. A community dedicated to minimising Chesterfield’s contribution to the single-use plastic crisis. The group has set up the ‘Plastic Free Champions’ scheme for Chesterfield businesses to get support in reducing their use of single use plastics.

Greg Hewitt, Plastic Free Chesterfield community lead said: “About 8 million tonnes of plastic gets into our oceans every year, and plastic production is increasing. We need to change direction. Christmas is an opportunity to spread ideas for alternatives to plastic waste. From decorations, to wrapping paper, to all sorts of reusable or alternative present ideas.”

Greg continued: “Key figures such as David Attenborough have reminded us this year that despite being in a pandemic, we are still facing a huge plastic pollution and climate crisis. The Christmas period is a really great opportunity for individuals to do their bit and take action on this and Plastic Free Chesterfield wants to make this as easy and accessible for people to do as possible.”

The tips are being provided every day starting from 1st December on the Plastic Free Chesterfield social media channels as well as being listed on their website.

Find out more about Christmas activities in Chesterfield here. 

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Chesterfield’s Custom Solar complete work on £74,000 green energy project with local e-commerce firm

Chesterfield based Custom Solar has completed a £74,000 project at a fellow North Derbyshire business, creating energy savings equivalent to supplying eight average UK homes with electricity for one year.

Xbite is an e-commerce firm based in Chesterfield in which operates retail brands including 365Games.co.uk, Roov.co.uk, Maison & White, Pukkr and Shop4. The firm was awarded a maximum value £20,000 low-carbon energy grant to help install over 270 solar panels at its HQ offices at Barlborough and warehouse at Markham Vale.

The grant was made available through the DE-Carbonise project, a collaboration between the University of Derby, Derby City Council and Derbyshire County Council which offers help to SMEs seeking to lower their carbon emissions and will contribute to the total project investment of £74,000.

Custom Solar installed 278 panels onto the Xbite HQ at Balborough, which will generate 74,760 kw/h per annum, enough to power 21 residential homes for the year. This solar installation will also reduce CO2 emissions by 21 tonnes per year which is the equivalent to the tailpipe emissions of 10 fossil fuel cars.

Gary Sucharewycz, development director at Custom Solar, said: “We are delighted to be working with Xbite. Whilst we are a national developer and provider of solar systems it is great to support local projects such as this. Investing in sustainability and renewable energy projects is majorly important to the environment, good for our communities, and great for businesses wanting to make an impact by generating their own power on site, which in turn makes significant savings on their power expenditure.”

Nick Whitehead, managing director at Xbite, said: “As part of our values to innovate and invest today for tomorrow, we are investing heavily to install solar panels at our Barlborough HQ. This installation means we can look to decrease our environmental impact, with beneficial gains towards operational performance, therefore improving our overall economic performance.

“The DE-Carbonise Team took all the hassle away from applying for the grant and were great to work with. Solar panels will help us reduce our CO2 emissions by 20,731kg per year, and generate 74,760 kWh per year of electricity, some of which we will be able to sell back to the National Grid.”

Ade Agbonyin, project officer at De-Carbonise, said: “Through our guidance, Xbite saw the chance to radically improve the company’s energy and environmental efficiency and make the shift to more sustainable business practices.”

The DE-Carbonise project launched in November 2019 and is a 3-year extension to the previously successful and award-winning D2EE project, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund. Grants of up to £20,000 are available for businesses looking to improve their environmental practices. Over 500 businesses in Derby and Derbyshire have been supported to date.

Custom Solar Ltd. supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.


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New international scale tourism destination, PEAK, selects Green Biofuels as construction fuel partner

PEAK, a phased development of an all year leisure, education, wellness, and entertainment destination based on 300 acres of reclaimed parkland at the edge of the Peak District National Park and Chesterfield, has selected the UK’s leading provider of HVO fuel, Green Biofuels, as the sole provider of fuel for the construction of the site in order to fulfil its journey to sustainability from the outset.

The multi-million-pound development will include the UK’s first fully-serviced national park gateway linked to a resort and educational campus. With the principles of sustainable tourism at its core, PEAK will offer domestic and international tourists experiences based around nature, culture, heritage, and activity in the Peak District and its environs. Overnight and short stay accommodation will be available in hotel, hostel and lodge formats.

The first development at PEAK, the Summit is underway and will open 2021. In line with Summit Resort and Development’s sustainability agenda, the construction compound, machines and equipment will be fuelled with Green Biofuels’ low emission high performance paraffinic alternative fuel. All vehicles delivering fuel to the site, and all construction vehicles on site will run on Green D+, which is a drop-in diesel alternative, requiring no changes to engines. Green Biofuels is supporting PEAK’s environmental commitment by supplying the site with a 35,000-litre tank to hold the fuel, in order to reduce emissions resulting from fuel deliveries to a site.

Independent tests at the Millbrook specialist vehicle testing facility have shown that compared to standard diesel emissions, Green D+ has up to an 85% reduction in particulates, and up to a 30% reduction in Nitrogen Oxides, thanks to a special additive not found in any other HVO fuel. This means that emissions contributing to climate change are reduced, as well as pollution affecting the local air quality. The emissions savings at the Summit construction site will be monitored and results announced over the duration of construction.

Gateway developer, Milligan, has appointed Cundall as its key advisor on sustainability and transport, working alongside Birchall Properties the landowner and strategic partners the Peak District National Park Authority, Chesterfield Borough Council and the University of Derby.

Alongside its regional attractions PEAK has planning permission for up to 2000 hotel rooms and 250 chalets. The overnight and short stay accommodation will be delivered in phases and in a range of formats from 5-star hilltop hotel with lodges, to village centre hotels with hostel accommodation. The aim is to deliver the quality and scope of accommodation and hospitality more familiar with an international ski resort.

Magnus Hammick, COO of Green Biofuels, said: “Green Biofuels is hugely proud to be on the journey toward sustainability with PEAK right from the start. As one of the UK’s largest privately funded construction projects, this partnership is especially important because it proves how easy it is for large-scale sites to instantly cut their emissions and protect local air quality with small and strategic changes. Ensuring low pollution is especially important at a site like PEAK because of its proximity to the National Park, so we have introduced a super-tank of 35,000 litres to supply the site, thereby reducing emissions from multiple fuel deliveries.

“This is a major commitment to clean air from the private sector, and I sincerely hope to see the Government making green construction practices a rule, so that our other national flagship projects are also built as sustainably as possible.”

The green ambitions of the project have attracted world renowned adventurer and polar pioneer, Robert Swan OBE. Through his ambassadorship of the Summit, Robert seeks to empower and enable people from all walks of life to participate in sustainability through their leisure activities and adventures.

Robert Swan OBE, said: “After everything I have seen and experienced, I have to say I am truly impressed and excited by what Green Biofuels are doing and what they will do for the green footprint of the PEAK construction.

“Now that the journey to sustainability at PEAK has begun, it is essential to take meaningful and strategic steps to ensure every choice is considered and weighed up against its environmental impact. It is for this reason that I am very encouraged to see PEAK select Green Biofuels as its construction fuel partner.”

Mark Hutchings, COO of Summit Resorts & Developments, said: “We as a company and indeed as individuals are passionate about our environment and the world in which we live. We want our legacy to be not only to provide something truly special for the local community and visitors to the area, but to deliver that in a way we can truly say is the most environmentally friendly way we possibly could. We believe that using Green D+ in every aspect of our operation from fuelling the plant and machinery on site to providing the power for our site cabins to run is a huge step towards achieving this.

“We are proud to be part of one of the largest developments in the U.K. at the moment that is adopting such a policy, and we believe that by doing this we will hopefully set a precedent for others to follow.”

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East Midlands can be at forefront of UK’s “green industrial revolution”, says Chamber

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement of a £4bn green plan to tackle climate change and create jobs in the low-carbon economy, East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire) chief executive Scott Knowles said: “On the face of it, today’s announcement is just the type of bold vision the UK needs in order to seriously rebuild our economy with a greener tint.

“It signals that these are the sectors where businesses need to invest in the future, while it should remove some of the financial barriers that have so far prevented many firms from switching to the low-carbon economy – although questions remain about whether the £4bn funding from Government is anywhere near sufficient to truly stimulate a green revolution.

“This news comes hot on the heels of the Chamber’s Sustainable East Midlands campaign, which was launched last week to highlight the benefits in embracing the sustainability agenda to the region’s businesses, while acting as a new hub for signposting companies to the support available to them.

“We’re excited to hear more about this from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng, the Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth, at our East Midlands Energy Summit tomorrow (Thursday 19 November), an event that will place sustainability at the top of the agenda for the region’s post-Covid economy.

“We believe the Government’s UK Net Zero 2050 vision plays into our region’s strengths as the East Midlands has all the pieces of the sustainability jigsaw – the high energy users in manufacturing, energy producers in our coalfield heritage and new hi-tech businesses coming out of our world-leading universities – putting us in a position to be at the forefront of delivering a low-carbon economy.

“In research conducted with the University of Derby that preceded the campaign, we found that engagement with this subject is quickly rising in the East Midlands but there remains a yawning gap in awareness.

“The percentage of businesses deriving turnover from low-carbon and pro-environmental goods and services has nearly doubled between 2015 and 2020 – growing from 16% to 31% – and just over a third (35%) of businesses said they were integrating clean growth into their business plan.

“On the flip side, four in 10 businesses told us they didn’t feel well-informed about support for clean growth.

“This suggests the Government still has a lot to do in order to encourage more businesses to switch to the low-carbon economy by pushing on-the-ground activity to engage and support more firms – and making sure the financial incentives involved will make a tangible difference to their bottom line.

“Only then will it be realistic to achieve the targets set by the UK Net Zero policy and bring the exciting vision for a green industrial revolution to fruition.”

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Chesterfield’s Custom Solar produces UK’s largest rooftop solar array at the Port of Hull

Associated British Ports (ABP) has unveiled the UK’s largest commercial rooftop solar array based at the Port of Hull, after contracting Chesterfield company Custom Solar to undertake its construction.

The array will produce 6.5MW of energy, more than doubling ABP Humber Ports’ renewable energy generation.
ABP’s 6.8 million investment will save 2,600 tonnes of CO2e per annum, which equates to the energy needs of 1,450 average UK homes.

Simon Bird, Director at ABP Humber, said: “This has been a huge project for ABP and our appointed contractor, Custom Solar, to undertake. I’m delighted that the Port of Hull now holds the accolade of the UK’s largest, commercial rooftop array.

“Our ambition is to keep reducing the emissions that port operations generate, by implementing a mix of clean energy production, and investing further in hybridised port equipment.

“Every bit of effort and investment to lower our carbon footprint, contributes to the region’s environmental targets. This scheme and others like it, also help to secure ABP’s energy supply, making great commercial and environmental sense.”

The project team decided on using solar technology, as it could be installed on the vast space created by the port’s many warehouse rooftops. Custom Solar began installing the solar panels in October 2019, but the project had already been many months in the planning.

Teamwork was at the heart of ABP’s solar project, with the support of many external partners such as Northern Power Grid. Custom Solar began designing the scheme to make the most of the available space, in liaison with the port’s management team. Once the design reached its final stages, a detailed assessment was made of the electrical network to plan its necessary upgrade and strengthen it – a key part of the project.

The installation of the 21,000 solar panels, powered by 49 of global solar specialists FIMER’s PVS-100-TL 100kw inverters and 3 PVS-50-TL 50kw inverters, was completed in August 2020. The team were able to quickly adapt to COVID-19 working requirements, as their established working practices were already socially distanced in their nature, and COVID secure welfare facilities were introduced.

Matthew Brailsford, Managing Director of Custom Solar, said, “It’s another proud moment for the Custom Solar team and our client, Associated British Ports, as we deliver yet another iconic rooftop solar system. Obviously this one is in a very special bracket all on its own being the UK’s largest.

“The project was in planning for nearly two years before beginning construction due to the sheer complexity of the system we delivered, this is yet another reason why the system is incredibly unique and bespoke to the client’s needs and environment.

“With carbon reduction, CSR and keen financial savings on the agenda of all large corporations during such a challenging time, we see solar as the perfect fit. The future is solar powered, and we are glad to be leading the way.”

FIMER’s chairman Filippo Carzaniga, comments: “FIMER is delighted to be supporting this new era for the UK’s solar energy market. This was a ground-breaking project, which marks our first major solar development in the country, and the largest installation of its kind.

“It demonstrates how powerful solar power can be and, we are proud to have worked closely with ABP and Custom Solar to make this vision a reality.”

17 of ABP’s 21 ports now have renewable energy projects attached. The addition of the solar scheme in Hull means that ABP’s Humber Ports can produce 29% of their energy requirements, and ABP isn’t stopping there.

Simon added: “Having now completed the solar arrays on the Ports of Immingham, Goole and Hull, ABP has already started work to understand the next phase of our ambition. Grimsby will be our focus, as the port is home to the growing offshore wind sector, we would once again like to reduce our carbon footprint using a mix of clean energy generation.”

ABP launched its core strategy in January 2020, which outlines the company’s commitment to accelerating green energy generation and storage for its port operations, as well as for new manufacturing sites in their ports. Over the last two years ABP Humber has also been investing in hybridised cranes and electric forklifts, to make the most of its onsite energy generation.

Find out more about our recent Chesterfield Round Table event, where the topic of business sustainability was discussed in detail.

Custom Solar Ltd. supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Sustainable East Midlands campaign launched to put region at forefront of UK’s ‘Build Back Greener’ vision

East Midlands Chamber has urged the region’s businesses to go green and reap the benefits to their bottom line in a new campaign.

The Sustainable East Midlands initiative will highlight both the business case and regulatory requirements for companies that engage with the low-carbon agenda.

It includes a new online information portal that will point firms to financial support available to them and a series of educational events, beginning with the East Midlands Energy Summit later this month.

The campaign has been launched following research by the Chamber and University of Derby, which highlighted how sustainability is rising up the business agenda – but also showed a gap in awareness for many organisations.

East Midlands Chamber chief executive Scott Knowles said: “With the seismic shift in the economy and the way businesses look to develop new ways to operate, there is no better time to focus on the opportunities and the potential offered by the sustainability agenda.

“With its manufacturing heritage, innovative businesses and academic base, the East Midlands has the raw ingredients to be at the forefront of delivering a low-carbon economy – particularly important at a time when the UK Government has a vision to ‘build back greener’ from the pandemic.

“This isn’t just about sustainability for the sake of being greener, as this translates into the bottom line of businesses through efficiency and resilience. Adopting greener credentials reduces running costs and helps to win new contracts and business.

“The Sustainable East Midlands campaign will play a pivotal role in shining a spotlight on the great companies already heavily engaged in the low-carbon agenda, while signposting more businesses in this direction – because now is the time to take responsibility and reap the rewards.”

University of Derby and East Midlands Chamber research on sustainability engagement and awareness among businesses

Sustainable East Midlands is the product of a long-standing partnership between the Chamber and University of Derby, which has yielded unique data about the region’s engagement with the sustainability agenda.

In February, the university included a set of questions related to this topic for the Q1 2020 edition of the Chamber’s Quarterly Economic Survey, which explores a range of business interests to gauge the state of the region’s economy.

More than 400 Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire businesses took part in the survey and it showed the percentage of businesses deriving turnover from low-carbon and pro-environmental goods and services has nearly doubled between 2015 and 2020 – growing from 16% to 31% during this period.

Just over a third (35%) of businesses said they were integrating clean growth into their business plan, while the proportion of firms not considering clean growth opportunities at all had decreased from 36% in 2018 to 14% in 2020.

On the flip side, four in 10 businesses said they did not feel well-informed about support for clean growth.
Dr Fred Paterson, an associate professor at the University of Derby and the Low Carbon Business Network lead at Derby Business School, led the research team.

He said: “There is growing evidence that companies putting environmental sustainability at the heart of their operations are more successful and more likely to survive over time than other firms.

“At the same time, the UK low-carbon economy has been growing steadily for more than a decade and has weathered storms like the financial crash of 2008 and the Covid-19 pandemic better than other sectors of the economy.

“It’s no surprise that our research has shown the number of businesses in the East Midlands that provide pro-environmental goods and services has doubled over the past five years.

“The Sustainable East Midlands initiative is therefore a really welcome support for the increasing number of smaller business that want to build their sustainable credentials and grow their business in ways that are also positive for the environment.”

The topic of sustainability was also discussed recently at the Destination Chesterfield Round Table event, with several local business figures speaking on what more can be done to drive sustainability in our region.

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Chesterfield’s Avant Homes becomes 1st UK housebuilder to introduce Honda E vehicle fleet

Chesterfield-based housebuilder Avant Homes has become the first UK housebuilder to introduce a fleet of 30 Honda e electric vehicles for its regional sales teams to use.

With 60 live developments across the Midlands, Yorkshire, north east England and Scotland, the new fleet will enable Avant Homes to provide prospective homebuyers with a more mobile and accessible sales service.

Supplied by motor retailer Stoneacre Chesterfield, the leasing deal is the biggest transaction the Tapton Lock dealership has ever brokered with a corporate client. The leasing agreement for the fleet was handled by Lex Autolease.

The cars have been introduced as part of a new commitment by the homebuilder to meet prospective buyers by appointment only at their preferred location, whether that is at a development, their home or the workplace.

Commenting on the new fleet, Avant Homes chief executive officer, Colin Lewis, said: “We learnt a lot during lockdown about how best to continue to provide our customers with exceptional service that is tailored to their needs.

“We identified that our customers need greater flexibility due to the changing circumstances they face and that we needed to evolve our sales function. We wanted to be able to meet our customers wherever was most convenient for them, so our idea was to be able to take Avant Homes to them on demand, and this led us to securing and introducing our new fleet of Honda e cars.

“We chose the Honda e so that we could not only provide our people with a state-of-the-art vehicle, but also minimise the environmental impact of the increased travel our sales team will be undertaking. The car’s contemporary and exciting design also appealed to us due to our desire to be a housebuilder that is different from the competition. So, like Avant Homes, the Honda e embodies an excellent combination of innovation, practicality and fun.

“We were clear from the outset that we wanted to support a local business to help deliver this initiative, so we are very pleased to have been able to partner with Stoneacre Chesterfield to acquire the new fleet. The service provided by the team there has been outstanding, and we can’t wait to get the cars delivered to our team across our five regional offices.”

Avant Homes is one of the UK’s leading private residential property developers. The business currently builds approximately 2,000 homes each year, has a turnover of circa £500m and employs around 780 people.

The Honda e, which was launched earlier this year, is the first electric Honda vehicle to be sold in Europe. At the beginning of October, it won the City Car of the Year category in the Sunday Times Motor Awards 2020 due to its unique combination of dynamic performance, refined comfort and futuristic technology. Inside, the modern minimalist passenger cabin utilises contemporary materials and is spacious and uncluttered to creates a comfortable lounge-like feel.

The Honda e features a water-cooled 35.5kWh lithium-ion battery that can be charged using either Type 2 AC connection or a CCS2 DC rapid charge. The car is capable of travelling up to 137 miles before drivers need to recharge the battery which can be charged to 80 per cent capacity in only 30 minutes.

Regional manager for Stoneacre Chesterfield , David Harding, said: “The popularity of hybrid and e-vehicles is rapidly increasing, so we were delighted to see Avant Homes select the Honda e as the vehicle of choice for their sales fleet. We’re thrilled to be able to provide an affordable, efficient and stylish option, and help Avant Homes to optimise their customer experience.”

The fleet was officially handed over to Avant Homes at a special event at Chesterfield FC where the cars were revealed to Avant staff for the first time.

Avant Homes are also currently involved in building part of the residential area at Chesterfield Waterside. Find out more here.

Avant Homes supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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