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Council ‘MEANZ Business’ in delivering Net Zero targets with transformative new project

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council Net Zero Innovation and Delivery project

L-R: Connor O’Dornan – Mid and East Antrim Borough Council Net Zero Innovation and Delivery Manager, Nicolas Wallet - Climate Global Innovation Lead (Innovate UK), Ansu Alex - Concrete Technologist and KTP Associate (Moore Concrete), Graham Whitehurst MBE – Chair of MEA Manufacturing Task Force, Ursula O’Loughlin - Head of Economic Development (MEA), Karen Hastings – Investment and Place Manager (MEA), Adeline McCartney – Technical Manager (Moore Concrete), William McCullagh – Head of Major Programmes (Translink), and Chris McCallum - Principal Sustainability Consultant (Tetra Tech Europe).



Mid and East Antrim’s Net Zero Business project (MEANZ Business) aimed at supporting local businesses in ‘delivering sustainable futures’ was officially launched on Tuesday 5 March at Ecos Hub, Ballymena.


Local business leaders and stakeholders attended the launch to hear how Council’s dedicated team will deliver a programme of activities to support businesses and expedite Council’s journey to achieving Net Zero targets.



The transformative MEANZ Business project, funded by Innovate UK, will spearhead an innovative and comprehensive programme of engagement, support and dissemination centred around delivering Net Zero to businesses across the borough.


Speaking of the project launch, Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna, said:


“This is a timely and unique opportunity for businesses in the Borough. This area is only one of three areas to secure £300k of funding from Innovate UK to develop the MEANZ Business project to put in place a Net Zero Innovation and Delivery Manager and provide access to UK-wide industry expertise. This level of commitment to Mid and East Antrim businesses cannot be underestimated.



“Council has already taken bold steps towards a greener future, exemplified by initiatives like the collaborative public-private sector Hydrogen Training Academy, the £15m HyTech NI project in conjunction with Queens University, the CleanTech Collaborative Growth Network funded by Invest NI and the forthcoming £24 million i4C Innovation and Cleantech Centre at the former St Patricks Barracks site.


“These strategic projects are the key drivers to Mid and East Antrim, leading the way as the CleanTech hub for Northern Ireland and the MEANZ Business project is another string to that bow.”


While the MEANZ Business project primarily focuses on supporting local businesses, it will also provide Council with invaluable insights and information to enable greater alignment to deliver on Net Zero innovations and targets.



Funding for the project was awarded as part of the prestigious £6 million Fast Followers competitive process, which falls under the umbrella of the Innovate UK Net Zero Living programme, designed to help places and businesses across the UK to accelerate the delivery of the transition to Net Zero.


Nicolas Wallet, Global Innovation Lead for Climate at Innovate UK and keynote speaker at the MEANZ Business launch event, said:


“There is a vast amount of knowledge and expertise across the UK in relation to Net Zero innovation - MEANZ Business will enable direct access to this for both Council and the businesses its serves. There will be greater collaboration on how different industry sectors can tackle carbon emissions, how businesses both small and large can have an impact locally, and ultimately how we can achieve Net Zero targets and drive green growth.”



Graham Whitehurst MBE, Chair of the Mid and East Antrim Manufacturing Taskforce, hosted the Net Zero panel session at the event and explained how the MEANZ Business project will play a "transformative role” for businesses on their Net Zero journeys:


“We’re seeing that collaboration in Net Zero is stronger than ever before and to now have a team on the ground equipping our businesses with expertise, best practice, and access to Net Zero leaders across the UK will be fundamental in delivering sustainable futures.”


Local companies Translink and Moore Concrete also presented at the MEANZ Business launch event and shared how Net Zero innovation is transforming their business.



William McCullagh, Head of Major Programmes at Translink said:


“This project is a fantastic opportunity for our local companies to collaborate across the wider Innovate UK network and gain further knowledge and expertise to help them achieve their Net Zero goals.


“Translink has been at the forefront of innovation in relation to decarbonisation. We have been running zero emission buses for over 2 years now, including the first hydrogen fuelled double deck buses in the island of Ireland. Currently there are over 140 zero emission buses in service with another 100 due to enter service during 2024/25.”

If you would like to find out more about the MEANZ Business project or to sign-up for the Net Zero Insights webinar series and quarterly e-newsletters, please email invest@midandeastantrim.gov.uk

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