Liam Byrne MP has appointed Malvern councillor and former mayoral candidate Beverley Nielsen to chair his ‘council of specialists’, which will be charged with planning the region’s transition into the UK’s centre of green manufacturing.
Ms Nielsen described Mr Byrne's plans to make the West Midlands the first zero-carbon region as "exciting and ambitious", and added: "We have so much potential in our region and we should be at the very heart of green manufacturing."
Mr Byrne said Ms Nielsen "gets both the potential of our region and what it could mean for manufacturing".
"Our ambition for the West Midlands is clear," he said. "We want, once again, be the spiritual home of UK manufacturing.
"But as we recover from the crippling affects of the Covid-19 pandemic, this must mean leading the country on green manufacturing. By doing so, we can create thousands of well-paid, high skills jobs across the whole of the Midlands."
Ms Nielsen was the Lib Dem candidate for West Midlands Mayor in 2016, and was also selected to stand for the party in the 2020 election, which has been put back to next May.
A councillor on Malvern Hills District Council, she quit the Lib Dems along with four other councillors in August and now serves as an independent.
She stood for Parliament in West Worcestershire in the 2019 general election, finishing second with 10,410 votes. She is an associate professor at Birmingham City University and the former regional director of the Confederation of British Industries.