Experts from the worlds of politics, academia and business came together at the University of Sheffield this week (28 October 2009) to discuss social and economic regeneration opportunities for the coal industry in Yorkshire and the implications this will have for climate change.
The conference, which was held at the Edge Conference Centre at the University, was hosted by the Rt Hon John Prescott MP. He was joined by a delegation of Chinese politicians who gathered in Sheffield to look at the positive contributions that could be had from the coal industry.
Discussion included increasing co-operation and investment opportunities between the North of England and industrial areas of China, the positive contribution of coal, latest and future techniques in the mining and burning of coal, government policy for the coal industry and coal communities, climate change issues, and regeneration implications and considerations for the region.
The Coalfield Regeneration Trust have been actively supporting the conference and will be showing the delegation from China, several facilities that they have helped establish to deal with the after-effects of the coal industry in the UK. The conference will also include visits on 27 and 29 October 2009 to an industrialised housing scheme on a regenerated coalfield site, and to the internationally acclaimed University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), which is dedicated to developing the new, technology-driven solutions that help ensure UK manufacturing remains competitive in the world.
The Conference is an initiative supported by the new Centre for Low Carbon Futures (CLCF). This new research hub brings together world-leading expertise based within Yorkshire and Humberside with the aim of building a competitive, sustainable and carbon efficient regional economy while providing climate solution of national and international significance. The Centre for Low Carbon Futures strongly advocates collaboration between government, university and industry, to address these low carbon issues.
Mr Prescott said: “The Coal Conference represents one of the most exciting developments for the future of the economy in Yorkshire. It is very pleasing to be able to hold the event at the University of Sheffield, which is at the centre of these developments in the region.”
Professor Lenny Koh, from the University´s Management School is a principal investigator for the new centre, and also spoke at the conference. She is currently leading a project which will map the supply chain, reveal how material flows through it and identifying carbon `hotspots´ so that supply chains can be remodelled to reduce carbon emissions.
Professor Koh said: “We were delighted to welcome such distinguished guests to the University to discuss these pressing issues. I am happy to be working with colleagues to create a visionary research Centre which will begin to address the energy and environmental issues we face today. The Centre for Low Carbon Futures aims to position our region to address low carbon challenges and access the leading edge solutions which we believe will help build a competitive, sustainable and carbon efficient regional economy.”