Colors: Purple Color

New research has revealed the UK regions which have benefited the most from working from home (WFH), with people in Scotland and London feeling least positive about the experience. The research was conducted by money transfer experts Xendpay, which analysed the latest ONS data from a study of UK adults in work.

Overall, when asked to assess how working from home had affected them both negatively and positively, people in London had the lowest net positive score out of the English regions. Taking into account all of the UK, only Scotland rated lower than the capital. One in four Londoners (25%) say they have suffered from reduced wellbeing due to WFH, and the capital also had the highest percentage of people - 28% - who say their work life balance has reduced.

In addition, 34% experienced more distractions while WFH in London and 19% were slower to complete work. London also had some of the highest numbers of people who felt that home working made it harder to think of new ideas (19%), and to work with others (49%)

Only one area of the UK has felt more negatively about working from home than London, with 36% of people in Scotland experiencing reduced wellbeing, and 22% reduced work life balance. In total, negative sentiment outweighs positive feelings among Scots, resulting in the lowest score on the index.

People in Scotland have also found it the hardest to focus when WFH in the UK. 38% have experienced more distractions and 20% found they were slower to complete work. Alongside Scotland and London, South West England has had the third most negative WFH experience.

One in five in the region (20%) have suffered from reduced work life balance, and 32% have felt a reduction in their wellbeing. The South West is also home to the highest percentage of people who have found it harder to work with others (52%).

The West Midlands sits at the top of the rankings – in total, 66% of people in the region experienced an improved work-life balance, and 43% had increased well-being.  Wales ranks a close second, and has the highest percentage of people who feel working from home improved their work-life balance, at 77%.

The North West placed third overall, with 47% of people noting an improvement in wellbeing. The West Midlands, Wales and the North West have seen the biggest increased focus at work, due to WFH. 57% of people in the West Midlands are completing their work faster, while in the North West, 47% experienced fewer distractions as a result of home-working. 

A spokesperson from Xendpay said: “It’s fascinating to see the discrepancies in different UK areas when it comes to people’s experiences of working from home. While many of us have been in this situation for over a year, it’s clear that - when it comes to home-working - not every area is equal.” 

The research was carried out by Xendpay, which aims to reduce the cost of international money transfer while maintaining the best possible customer service. It provides a no-fee international money transfer service to bank accounts, offering exchange rates usually only available to multinational corporations, without compromising on transfer times or reliability.

Government transport minister Rachel Maclean MP has been shown how more than three million pieces of data a day gathered from the region’s roads network is helping to reduce traffic congestion and keep people moving.

This cutting-edge data gathering project, called Network Resilience Live Lab, is funded by the Department of Transport (DfT) through the two-year £22.9m ADEPT Smart Places Live Labs programme, until November 2021. Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) is using data that is harnessed round-the-clock from Static Automated Traffic Counters (SATCs) backed up by live feeds from more than 2,000 CCTV cameras covering the transport network to build up a detailed picture of traffic and transport movements around the region.

This data stream is being further enhanced with 5G roadside data sensors which relay live information on traffic movements. TfWM, which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), is working with partner councils and transport operators to relieve pressure on the region’s roads. Approximately 50% of the road traffic in the region is carried on 7% of the road network leading to congestion.

Data is compiled by the Regional Transport Coordination Centre (RTCC), run by TfWM in collaboration with local authorities and transport operators, to better direct and manage the transport network around major incidents and large scale events. This data is used to offer instant traffic advice and warnings to the travelling public, such as through the @WMRoads twitter feed, to avoid an incident or find an alternative route. Transport planners are also using the information to act, such as putting diversions in place, to deal with congestion.

Rachel Maclean, who is Redditch MP as well as Department for Transport Minister toured the £22 million Regional Transport Coordination Centre (RTCC), the information gathering nerve centre in Birmingham, where the data is received, along with live information from public transport operators, and analysed.

Transport Minster Rachel Maclean said: “The UK is paving the way when it comes to the future of transport and the development of cutting-edge technology and I’m delighted to see this being embedded in the West Midlands area through the Adept Live Labs project.

“Reducing traffic will cut transport emissions and improve air quality, making our communities healthier, better places to live. That’s why supporting innovation is a priority for this Government, as we look to solve the complex challenge of decarbonising transport and achieving net zero by 2050.”

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said: “We took this opportunity to show the Minister the ground-breaking work being done with big data to deal with traffic congestion on our roads.

"It is a major issue for many thousands of people a day as they travel about our region which is why we are investing more than £1 billion in improving our bus, train, tram and cycling infrastructure around the region as well as relieving some of our notorious congestion hotspots such as Birchley Island in Oldbury. Alongside this we have introduced the RTCC which uses the vast amounts of data gathered to produce better travel information, and even spot problems before they develop, so people spend less time sat in their cars – saving them time and benefitting our environment in the process.”

Live Labs programme director Giles Perkins said: “The ADEPT Live Labs programme represents the cutting edge of innovation in the local roads sector.

“We are pleased that the Minister and Mayor have been able to see first-hand the great things that our West Midlands colleagues have achieved with their approach to the application of large-scale data processing to help solve challenging congestion issues. Over the coming months we’ll be sharing insights and learnings from the programme widely so that the whole of industry can benefit from DfT’s £23m investment.”

As well as the large-scale data gathering operation in the Live Lab, work is also being carried out, under TfWM’s Future Transport Zone umbrella, to study and research individual travel patterns and behaviour to find ways of better targeting messages to encourage people to change their travel choices – such as choose a better time of day or switch to public transport.

The Minister also spent time with the Future Transport Zone and West Midlands 5G to find out more about their work on innovative projects including the autonomous vehicle testbed. Reducing the traffic congestion on the roads can help cut carbon emissions and improve air quality as part of our #wm2041 plans for a net zero carbon region.

Councillor Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: "We're harnessing cutting edge technology in the Live Lab to boost our efforts to reduce congestion and change the way people travel across the region.

"Information gathered from the traffic counters is helping us to better manage our network and design new ways of getting about to reduce gridlock and encourage more walking, cycling and greater use of public transport." ADEPT represents local authority, county, unitary and metropolitan directors.

The ADEPT SMART Places Live Labs programme is a two-year £22.9 million project funded by the Department for Transport and supported by project partners SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins business, EY, Kier, O2, Ringway and WSP. Nine local authorities are working on projects to introduce digital innovation across SMART mobility, transport, highways, maintenance, data, energy and communications.

Live Labs is part of ADEPT’s SMART Places programme to support the use of digital technology in place-based services.

A Birmingham-headquartered engineering firm has accelerated its strategic growth with several senior appointments. And the move coincides with an overall boost in employment which has seen the business employ over 50 new employees since the start of the year.

The multi-disciplined adi Group, which covers a broad range of sectors including aerospace and defence, automotive, food and beverage and manufacturing markets, has recently taken on 12 new senior figures at the company, bolstering its 30+ divisional offering. Accelerating its numbers to 700+ staff across the Group, which is situated at Kings Norton, the business has undergone significant growth as it looks to support the manufacturing market throughout the coronavirus crisis and beyond.

“This has been a key time for both the business and the wider manufacturing sector,” said adi Group founder and CEO Alan Lusty, who celebrated the Group’s 30 years of the Grou last year. “Rather than bunker down and hope for the best, we’ve actively recruited in a number of key areas of the business, which has enabled us to continue serving a wide range of manufacturing markets.

“It’s our ears to the ground approach, actively monitoring and responding to changes in the marketplace, that has enabled us to continue our success and birth over 30 specialist service divisions over the years. We now look forward to the future ahead, which will be increasingly shaped by needs to lower carbon footprints, drive production efficiency and lower operational costs, something which is always at the forefront of our minds and business philosophies.”

Joining the adi Group are experienced industry veterans, including new Vehicle Charging Solutions general manager Robert Byrne. Helping to drive electric vehicle infrastructure in the UK, Robert will support divisional director Kenny Green with over 35 years of experience to his name, having led charge point installation projects for big brand names including Nissan and its electric Leaf range.

Elsewhere, new air hygiene manager Gareth Richards is set to bolster adi Environmental’s ranks, having racked up an impressive career in the air and water hygiene sector, with works completed across NHS properties, HM prisons and high security MOD sites across the UK and abroad. Overall, the Group now operates across 12 regional sites in the UK & Ireland, with a manufacturing capacity in excess of 200,000 sq. ft.

The business has also extended its commitment to youth skills development in the sector, continuing both of its apprenticeship schemes throughout the pandemic, as well recently ranking as one of the Best Companies to Work For in the Midlands in The Sunday Times annual survey list. For Group strategic account director James Sopwith, adi’s successes are indicative of its sustainable ethos:

“We’re immensely proud of the success of the Group, particularly given the year that businesses like us have endured in the past year,” he said. “What we’ve been able to do is focus on our foundations, which are fuelled by a belief that building sustainable communities, from regional to nationally, are the building blocks for propelling forward our industry and those that want to work in our sector.

“Our pre-apprenticeship scheme really is the best example of this, a partnership with a local school that educates young people on the rewards our industry has to offer at an early age, dispelling outdated perceptions of the sector and going some way to fulfilling an ever-growing skills gap that we as business face and tackle head on. It would have been quite easy to postpone our apprenticeship schemes in light of the difficulties the pandemic posed, but we simply couldn’t take away that opportunity for young people to get on the careers ladder at a time they needed it the most.

“At adi, we continue to grow and diversify our workforce, with the Midlands and regions across the UK integral to our ongoing business aims.” With household food and drink brands, automotive giants and aerospace experts part of its ever growing client list, adi continues to build in a stature as a one of top engineering firms in the UK, a status upheld by its top ten ranking in the construction and engineering sector in the Best Companies 2021 sector lists.

Downtown in Business Liverpool hosted an exclusive breakfast event the first live ‘Liverpool Property Club’ event of 2021. We were joined by a panel of esteemed speakers, CEO of Liverpool City Council, Tony Reeves, CEO of Knowledge Quarter & Sciontec, Colin Sinclair and Principal & Managing Director of Avison Young and Chairman of the Liverpool MIPIM delegation, Stephen Cowperthwaite at Malmaison Liverpool.

The Liverpool Property Club came together to discuss Liverpool post-Covid and the recovery from the pandemic, the property and regeneration sector across Liverpool, plus the developments across the city including The Spine building up in Paddington Village, to the new Everton football stadium down at Bramley Moore Dock and the need for repurposing parts of the city.

CEO of Liverpool City Council, Tony Reeves commented on how Liverpool ‘has the potential to do some amazing things starting [today]’ looking beyond lockdown restrictions across the region, particularly following the success of the pilot schemes across the city.

Knowledge Quarter CEO, Colin Sinclair addressed the guests in attendance about the importance of returning to work from the office and the increase in productivity and career/business developments when working collectively in person, plus the exciting new projects taking place in the Knowledge Quarter.

Lastly, MD of Avison Young and Liverpool MIPIM Chairman told the attendees of the plans for the changes being made to MIPIM in now becoming the ‘Liverpool Place Partnership’ to cover a broader spectrum of sectors in Liverpool.

Many thanks to Malmaison Liverpool for hosting our first live Liverpool Property Club of the year. DIB also extends their thanks to sponsors Project FourMorgan SindallLiverpool MIPIM and Sutcliffe.

The North West is seeing the fastest growth in electric car ownership of any region in the UK, according to DVLA car registrations data analysed by car leasing comparison website LeaseLoco. The latest figures provided by the DVLA reveal that electric car (EV) registrations have more than tripled - up 214% - in 12 months in the North West, with 21,993 EVs registered at the start of 2021, compared to 7,005 a year earlier.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) submission was made by LeaseLoco to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in June 2021, requesting the most up-to-date figures on BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles) registered in the UK. Three other regions have seen electric vehicle registrations more than double over the past 12 months; with registrations up 142% in the South West, 132% in Yorkshire and the Humber, and 128% in the South East.

EV registrations have almost doubled in Scotland (97%) since the start of 2020, while registrations in London are up by more than two thirds (69%). The West Midlands is languishing at the bottom of the EV table, with the slowest growth in registrations, EV registrations are up just 45% since the start of 2020, suggesting car owners are showing resistance to early switching to electric.

Table: UK regions ranked in order of fastest growth in BEV registrations, 2021 vs 2020

Region

Number of BEVs registered -  

Start 2020

Number of BEVs registered -

Start 2021

% Increase in BEVs

North West

21,993

7,005

214.0%

South West

27,964

11,554

142.0%

Yorkshire & the Humber

14,639

6,304

132.2%

South East

51,205

22,453

128.1%

Scotland

14,808

7,529

96.7%

East

21,038

11,152

88.6%

Northern Ireland

2,549

1,390

83.4%

East Midlands

10,047

5,793

73.4%

Wales

4,641

2,696

72.1%

London

24,908

14,735

69.0%

North East

3,574

2,323

53.9%

West Midlands

16,888

11,628

45.2%

 

John Wilmot, CEO of car leasing comparison websiteLeaseLoco comments: “These DVLA figures show a huge disparity between regions where consumers are showing commitment to early switching to electric vehicles, and regions where electric car switching needs a jump start. 

“The Government will start feeling the pressure if EV registrations don’t show signs of accelerating and momentum is lost on its journey to “Road to Zero” emissions. The demand is definitely there - we have seen electric car enquiries on our site almost triple this year and we have hundreds of thousands of EV deals available to consumers.

“But EV registrations still make up a very small percentage of the total number of new car sales. While they are cheap to run and most owners are keen to drive less-polluting cars, too many people who rely on their vehicles for work and leisure, are holding off making the switch while there are question marks around the charging infrastructure and the initial cost of an electric vehicle.

“The Government needs to take advantage of the growing popularity of zero emissions motoring, but the worry is that without more focus, investment and education, demand will not translate into sales and momentum will be lost. With the sale of new diesel and petrol cars banned from 2030, the next two to three years will be critical in ensuring that the switch to greener motoring stays on track.”

UK supermarkets are fuelling demand for meat and dairy products which is harming public health and the climate, reveals a new supermarket scorecard published by environmental charity, Feedback, today. 

The scorecard ranks the UK’s top 10 supermarkets on their efforts to reduce the environmental cost of the meat and dairy products they sell. The Co-op, Tesco, and Waitrose top the rankings but even the Co-op, the best performing retailer, scored just 45%.  Asda, Iceland and Lidl ranked bottom with the worst performer, Lidl, scoring just 17%.

Carina Millstone, Executive Director of Feedback, said: “UK supermarkets are continuing to drive demand for meat and dairy products that are already responsible for around 15% of greenhouse gas emissions - and fuelling deforestation in the Amazon and elsewhere. It’s time for supermarkets to step up to the plate, slash their meat and dairy products and offer customers more sustainable and healthier options”. 

The scorecard revealed that many supermarkets have improved their environmental policies since the last assessment in 2019 but that they were failing to translate this into action:

·         All 10 supermarkets actively encourage meat consumption through promotions, and not just to avoid waste when products near their expiry dates. This means retailers are fuelling – and not simply responding to - demand for meat. 

·         Only one supermarket, the Co-op, is accurately measuring and publicly reporting on the climate impact of the goods it sells – but only for its own label products. 

·         Half the supermarkets including Tesco, M&S and ALDI continue to use misleading or ‘fake farm’ labels and names such as ‘Trusted Farms’ which give the impression that their meat is produced to higher standards than is the reality. 

·         Options such as organic or free range make up less than 20% of the products offered by all the supermarkets, while Iceland offers no free range or organic options. Only 3 retailers – Asda, Morrisons and Tesco – ensure that more than a quarter of the ready to cook meals they offer are vegetarian or vegan.

·         None of the supermarkets reveal how much meat and dairy they sell as a proportion of their protein sales, making it difficult to track their progress. 

More promising signs include the steps taken by all retailers to promote healthy fruit and vegetable consumption, commitments from the Co-op and Sainsbury’s to link board or senior leadership remuneration to achieving environmental outcomes, and supermarkets’ work to put pressure on Brazilian suppliers to prevent products linked to deforestation from entering their supply chains. All the retailers, with the exception of Iceland and ASDA, have made a public commitment to drop meat linked to deforestation, however they have yet to remove these products, including chicken and pork fed on soya grown in deforested areas, from their shelves.  

Meat and dairy production contribute to climate change through direct emissions from animals and their waste and through the destruction of important ecosystems such as the Amazon rainforest to raise cattle or grow soy for animal feed. The UK imports the majority of its soya from South America, at least 90% of which is fed to animals, particularly chicken and pork.

The 10 supermarkets control 94% of the UK grocery market and have a huge influence on what we eat through the products they sell, and the way in which they market, package and promote them.  Many customers want to reduce the health and environmental impacts of their food with 43% of people surveyed by YouGov say they often make the choice to reduce their meat consumption when shopping. 

The government's Committee on Climate Change has said the UK need to cut meat and dairy consumption by 20% by 2030 to meet its climate commitments while the University of Oxford estimates consumption of meats such as beef should be cut by as much as 89% to meet the NHS Eatwell guidelines.

Millstone added: “With 3 out of 4 shoppers visiting supermarkets several times a week, it is clear that retailers have a special responsibility to help their customers enjoy food that is both good for them and for the planet. Supermarkets must be clear about the climate impact of the food they sell and commit to selling much less meat and dairy and much more fruit and veg.

Former Arsenal and Crystal Palace footballer and environmental entrepreneur, Mathieu Flamini, said: “Reducing my consumption of animal protein and dairy improved my health and my performance on and off the pitch: I was able to recover quicker and cope with the daily workload better. I was not only doing myself good by eating less meat, but as a nature lover I was also able to reduce my impact on the planet. We all need to do our bit, including the retailers who supply us with so much of the food we eat.”

Simon Billing, Executive Director of Eating Better added: “Feedback’s scorecard shows retailers are still focused on boosting meat sales, despite setting net zero targets and pledging to help us eat healthier and more sustainably. Making it easier for shoppers to buy more meat and dairy than they need, or probably want is not the way forward for our health, or that of the planet.” 

 

The 2021 scorecard ranking, and scores are outlined below:

Rank

Supermarket

Score (%) 

1st

Co-op

45.6%

2nd

Tesco

41.3%

3rd

Waitrose

38.1%

4th

Sainsbury's

37.5%

5th

M&S

33.1%

6th

Aldi

28.1%

7th

ASDA

23.8%

8th

Morrisons

22.5%

9th

Iceland

21.9%

10th

Lidl

17.5%