Research and Intelligence


The state of the Northwest environment matters to everyone. It is a regional asset that provides the foundations for economic and social wellbeing. 

The environmental agenda has become an increasingly important topic area over the last decade. In 2008 the RIU commissioned SQW to produce a study to reflect this increasing importance. The study is known as ECOSEG (Environmental Considerations of Sustainable Economic Growth) and comprised of two stages.

Stage 1 focused on reviewing the inventory of existing data and intelligence relating to the sustainable growth of the region over the next 10-15 years. The report summarises the current capacity of the region’s various natural and man-made systems to sustain current economic and other human activity. 

Stage 2 intended to develop the Stage 1 work by analysing in detail four infrastructure themes identified as key to regional growth, namely:

A fifth key infrastructure theme ‘Green Infrastructure’ was developed in addition to a separate piece of work called known as Green Infrastructure Solutions to Pinch Points Issues

As part of the RS2010 evidence base, the RIU, with regional partners, developed the ECOSEG environmental themes into three evidence papers:

  • Natural Environment – The natural environment should be valued for its own sake and for the contribution it makes to sustainable economic growth.  This paper examines the wider environment including climate change and the natural, historic & built environments.
  • Energy – Energy as a theme is not restricted by regional, national or international boundaries, and is a major focus on the international efforts to curb climate change, whilst also being an issue in itself.  This paper examines energy in terms of electricity and gas demand, consumption and capacity, renewable energy, nuclear energy and energy infrastructure.
  • Sustainable Consumption & Production (SCP) – Across the World there is a drive towards low carbon, resource efficient living and working which presents both opportunities and challenges for our region.  This paper analyses regional performance in terms of resource consumption, low carbon environmental goods & services sector and resource scarcity.

The environmental evidence base was created to be supplemented by a number of completed and emerging pieces of research and regional actions plans, including:

For further information on environment related research, please contact:

Visit the Publications page to access research related to the Environment theme.