A desk-based review of the potential for a Middleport that is sustainable – economically, socially and environmentally
This study begins to explore the possibility of local people creating a Middleport that is strong, sustainable and resilient in the face of climate change. It has been researched and written by Marches Energy Agency (MEA), working with Middleport Matters and with funding and support from Middleport Environment Charity.
Middleport, like all of the UK, is and will continue, to face the challenges of a changing climate. The population of Middleport is more at risk than some areas of the UK as it is a deprived urban area with a slightly higher than average proportion of small children and pensioners. Climate Change presents a problem, but in tackling it we have the potential to create the kind of community we want to live, work and spend our time in. We also have the opportunity to simultaneously tackle fuel poverty and some health issues.
The full document considers three areas: buildings, transport and food.
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Whilst a considerable number of physical measures have been installed in some homes in the area over recent years, and local fuel bills are below average, there is still a high prevalence of fuel poverty in the area and only a small amount of renewable energy is being generated locally. Our study suggests that based on a limited range of insulation and heating measures local residents have the potential to collectively save more than £80,000 per year on their energy bills. This would also result in a saving of more than 330,000kg of CO₂ and, if work was carried out by local installers, result in a benefit to the area of more than £13million.
Middleport currently has lower than average use of the most polluting forms of transport, but also low levels of cycling. The challenge is to keep use of cars low as the area continues to be regenerated. Transport is an area where Middleport Matters is already active in seeking between signage for cyclists and along the canal, organising guided walks of the area, and lobbying for better bus services to the area.
Our study suggests that if just 10% of local people began spending 10% of their food and drink budget in the locally owned businesses, the local economy would benefit to the tune of £68,623. Burslem was recently found to have the highest rate of empty shops of all high streets. This presents both a challenge, but also an opportunity to look to fill these units with locally owned businesses selling local produce and products.