WHAT IS THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY?
Looking beyond the current take-make-dispose extractive industrial model, a circular economy aims to redefine growth, focusing on positive society-wide benefits. It entails gradually decoupling economic activity from the consumption of finite resources, and designing waste out of the system. Underpinned by a transition to renewable energy sources, the circular model builds economic, natural, and social capital.
The UK’s National Industrial Strategy includes a commitment to moving towards a regenerative circular economy, as part of the Clean Growth Grand Challenges. The circular economy concept is recognised as a key lever to boost productivity, increase resource efficiency and restore natural capital.
A REGIONAL APPROACH
FROM CIRCULAR CITIES… TO CIRCULAR REGIONS
The concept of ‘circular cities’ is now well advanced, with cities such as London, Peterborough, Glasgow, Amsterdam and New York leading city-scale circular economy initiatives. However, rural areas have been somewhat neglected in the global agenda to transition towards the circular economy. This is surprising considering the resource intensive industries active in rural areas. Whilst cities may be aggregators of materials, resources and innovation, rural areas are the providers of food, energy, water and products to power cities. Taking a more regional approach, provides the opportunity to explore the interdependencies between rural and urban areas and develop interventions that truly create circular systems.
Applying circular economy principles at scale across the area is expected to contribute to a wide range of benefits, including:
- Increased resource productivity
- Reduced costs and increased competitiveness for resource intensive businesses
- Additional opportunities to generate commercial revenue streams
- Reduced finite resource consumption
- Reduced CO2 emissions
- Increased export opportunities of circular knowledge and technologies
- Increased inward investment
A DIVERSE REGION TO DRIVE CE AT SCALE & BENEFIT FROM CIRCULAR INNOVATION
Our patch provides a unique testbed to trial truly circular solutions across urban and rural areas, with a diverse population, geography and economy.
Encompassing the historic city of York, voted UK’s best place to live; a thriving rural economy with two national parks; and a stunning coastline.
Working collaboratively with partners, we are currently in the process of producing a Circular Economy Strategy and Action Plan for our area, which will be publically available later this year.