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West Midlands’ Circular Economy Routemap

Conclusion and Next Steps


A circular economy is a vital part of WMCA’s overall approach to leading the green industrial revolution. There are many ways in which a circular economy can be developed, all of which should support a more inclusive and stronger economy, social value creation and a cleaner, greener environment.

The West Midlands already has exceptional strengths in its centres of excellence, research programmes, businesses and pilot projects focusing on circularity. These provide a fantastic springboard to accelerate the region’s transition to a circular economy.

However, this transition remains a challenging, all-encompassing and demanding endeavour. It requires a set of coordinated enabling and strategic interventions across various sectors, involving multiple stakeholders and businesses as well as a radical shift in how we think about our economy.

It is why this routemap recommends that the West Midlands initially focuses on three priority areas and on builds enabling foundations to support a wider transition, based on extensive stakeholder engagement, a material flow assessment, existing circular economy expertise and aligned to the key regional and national strategies.

The priority areas selected are:

  • Circular manufacturing with opportunities in advanced manufacturing, clean technology, vehicle and battery manufacturing, converting waste to high-value fuels.

  • Circular construction with opportunities in brownfield land reclamation, repurposing vacant and unused spaces, circular design and construction processes and material recovery hubs.

  • Circular food with opportunities in bio-technology R&D for agro-processing and agro- manufacturing, recovering and re-using food waste, and unlocking the potential of local social enterprises and community groups working on food issues.



This routemap is the first step in formalising the region’s journey towards a more circular economy. We recommend that:


  • Publishes this routemap and shares best practice across the region.

  • Works with key stakeholders identified in the routemap to:

  • prioritise strategic opportunities and develop detailed project and funding proposals.

  • prioritise the enabling actions in the routemap.
  • commission in-depth material flow analysis for key sectors, when and where needed to inform future actions, as well as other sectors such as retail, tourism or health care and life science.
  • Establishes appropriate internal and region-wide governance, refreshing the current Taskforce to align with priorities to support delivery of the routemap.
  • Aligns the actions in this routemap with other internal programmes and strategies.
  • Takes proposals on resource requirements and investment opportunities to WMCA Board, once this more detailed work has been completed.

Local authorities in the West Midlands:

  • Work with WMCA on developing relevant strategic opportunities as above.

  • Identify opportunities to use their enabling functions such as waste, planning, procurement and other key strategies, plans and policies, to support investment in critical waste, energy and transport infrastructure that will create the conditions for a more circular economy.

National government provides funding and policy support for industry-wide transitions to a more circular economy. This is essential since the West Midlands cannot transition to a circular economy without the support of the national government.