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17 November 2020

Seawater Solutions

Liam Singleton

Glasgow Urban Wetland Project Explores Green Covid-19 Recovery

(November, 2020) A 3-month feasibility study, funded through the UK Government’s Sustainable Innovation Fund, has been launched to develop an urban wetland carbon capture plan to help Glasgow City hit its carbon neutral targets and support delivery of a greener, fairer, more sustainable Covid recovery.

Glasgow Wetland Carbon Capture Project (GWCCP) aims to transform degraded urban sites into wetlands to deliver a host of economic and environmental benefits. It will also develop an urban wetland carbon capture scheme so that Glasgow and other cities are able to reap the economic, social and environmental benefits of urban wetlands.

Innovate UK Executive Chair Dr Ian Campbell said: “In these difficult times we have seen the best of British business innovation. The pandemic is not just a health emergency but one that impacts society and the economy.

GWCCP, along with every initiative Innovate UK has supported through this fund, is an important step forward in driving sustainable economic development. Each one is also helping to realise the ambitions of hard-working people.”

An exciting Glasgow-based consortium has joined forces to deliver this shared vision, including a pioneering and award-winning agri-tech start-up (Seawater Solutions – Project Lead), a forward-thinking local authority (Glasgow City Council), a world-leading international technological university (the University of Strathclyde), and a cross-industry group devoted to promoting urban ag-tech as a solution for food and environmental crises (UKUAT).

Gavin Slater, Head of Sustainability at Glasgow City Council, said: “We are delighted to support this project to create wetlands within the city that will capture carbon, create local green jobs for deprived communities, make better use of vacant land across the city, provide innovative climate change mitigation solutions, and have the potential to create significant new revenue streams for green investment in the city.”

Yanik Nyberg, Seawater Solutions Founder and CEO, said: “By turning degraded land into thriving urban wetlands, GWCCP will capture huge amounts of carbon, deliver a natural defence from rising sea levels, increase biodiversity and green space access, and create employment opportunities through a Sustainable Start-up Village. We are particularly excited about developing these sites with our local community at its heart, to help support the city to recover from the challenges of the last year, while helping the Council to hit its ambitious environmental targets.”

Richard Bellingham, Director of the Institute for Future Cities at the University of Strathclyde, said: “In a year when COP26 is due to come to Glasgow Strathclyde is particularly delighted to be providing the expertise to ensure that this project is successfully implemented – helping make Glasgow a net zero carbon city, generating local jobs, and regenerating communities. We will bring in Strathclyde’s expertise in the areas of carbon capture, public policy, community engagement, business model development, and land contamination. We will work closely with Glasgow City Council, Sustainable Glasgow, and community organisations to ensure that wider social, environmental and economic benefits are maximised and deliver positive impact for local communities and Glasgow as a whole.”

Mark Horler, UK Urban AgriTech Chairman, said: “We’ll be bringing to bear the substantial experience and expertise from our extensive network, to help deliver and add to the aims of this important and exciting project. In particular, we look forward to utilising urban agritech to aid public engagement, to create sustainable employment and training opportunities, and so to help multiply the overall impact of the scheme.”

GWCCP, funded by Innovate UK, who as part of UK Research and Innovation, is investing up to £191 million to fund single and collaborative research and development projects as part of the Sustainable Innovation Fund over the next two years. The aim of these competitions is to help all sectors of the UK rebuild after the effects of COVID-19.

The Sustainable Innovation Fund is funding 1103 projects, 1069 UK businesses and totalling over £130 million in support across the UK.

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