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13.01.20

West Midlands Combined Authority releases climate change report

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has released its report on tackling climate change across the West Midlands.

Released on January 10, 2020, the #WM2041 report is aimed at kickstarting the conversation around tackling climate change in the region.

Due to be reviewed by the WMCA board this week, the report will be subject to a six-week period of public engagement following approval by the board.

The document contains 74 potential actions that businesses, councils, the WMCA and residents can take to limit the impact of climate change and achieve carbon neutrality by no later than 2041.

Actions in the report include:

  • Expanding electric vehicle charging points across the region
  • Developing more eco-friendly homes, including introducing a zero-carbon standard for new build homes
  • Ambitious tree-planting programmes including one tree planted for each resident, and plans for a national park, building on the work of Birmingham City University
  • Exploring plans to introduce LED street lighting across the region
  • Ambitions to create the UK’s first Gigafactory in the West Midlands
  • This is the latest step in a long line of work the WMCA is doing to make the West Midlands a more environmentally conscious and resilient region. Work includes:
  • The ‘brownfield first’ policy which is delivering thousands of homes on derelict, industrial land while reducing pressure on the region’s Green Belt
  • Opening up railway lines closed for decades, expanding the Midland Metro, and introducing new, faster bus routes as more environmentally friendly alternatives to using cars
  • Committing to cut out the use of single-use plastics within the organisation by 2020

The combined authority is planning to use the responses to the public engagement exercise to build on the starting blocks outlined in the #WM2041 report to pull together a comprehensive climate strategy to be presented to the board later this year.

Councillor Ian Courts, portfolio holder for environment for the WMCA and leader of Solihull Council, said: “The West Midlands once led the world in the industrial revolution, bringing wealth, innovation and opportunities to the people of the region.

“It is only right that the West Midlands should now be leading a new, green revolution which will protect and enhance both our environment and our economy.

“This report starts a conversation about how we in the West Midlands tackle the climate crisis without leaving anyone behind. Our ambition is to tackle climate change in a way that reflects and respects the heritage and the people of the region.”

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “We know we need to take action to limit the impact of climate change and prepare for the changes we can’t prevent.

“We want to hear from as many local residents and businesses as possible over the next six weeks. We’re asking people to tell us what they think are the most important things we can all do, and how we can make these changes easier for everyone.

“Lots of people and organisations in the West Midlands have already made changes to protect our environment and want to do more. I’m looking forward to seeing contributions from residents and businesses across the region.

“It’s also crucial that we take account of this region’s long history of industry and manufacturing, and the people involved in it. We will balance our commitments to climate change with our commitments to developing a strong economy.”

Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Andrea Leadsom said: “Climate change is a challenge for everyone – not just in the UK but globally. It’s great to see the WM2041 report from the West Midlands Combined Authority demonstrating real ambition to tackle the climate crisis while unlocking the potential of our green economy. This report is the start of a conversation in the West Midlands – one about how we can all do our bit to tackle climate change, and I hope it inspires others to start similar conversations across the UK.”

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