A bold recovery plan was approved by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) on Friday (June 5) with green ambitions at its core.
The blueprint, WM2041: A programme for Implementing an Environmental Recovery sets out how the region will bounce back from the economic impact of coronavirus whilst making it a greener and healthier place to live and work.
Coinciding with United Nations’ World Environment Day, the plan outlines the Council’s existing commitment to make the West Midlands carbon neutral by 2041.
Green and inclusive growth will be a key driver of its strategy, ensuring the region’s diverse communities and environments can thrive post-pandemic.
Initiatives include retrofitting homes to make them more energy efficient and help to tackle fuel poverty, support the switch to electric vehicles including charging infrastructure at scale, a green innovation challenge to encourage SMEs to develop climate change solutions and a push for active travel in the region.
Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, said: “The region’s economic recovery from Coronavirus must be green and inclusive, and #WM2041 helps give clear direction of how to achieve this.
“We now need to come together as a region – including businesses, communities, and local authorities - to make this plan happen and help build a stronger, greener and more inclusive recovery for everyone in the region.”
The approval will also support Central Government’s national target of carbon neutrality by 2050, with work to begin on the projects this week (June 8).
Cllr Ian Courts, WMCA portfolio lead for environment and leader of Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council said: “The climate crisis has not gone away, and climate change continues to be one of the biggest threats to environment and society.
“While the COVID-19 pandemic has been hugely disruptive and challenging for many of us it has given us a moment to pause and reflect on what kind of future we want in the West Midlands and what ‘prosperity’ means in not just economic but also social and environmental terms.
“That’s why this ambitious plan has been drawn up, which would benefit the region on a huge scale.”