The West Midlands Combined Authority is urging local residents and businesses to have their say on what they feel should be done to combat the climate emergency
The WMCA has today (24 January) launched the #WM2041 report to start a conversation on how everyone can play their part in tackling climate change in the region.
Following the West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA) declaration of a climate emergency last year, the WM2041 report contains 74 potential actions to limit the impact of climate change and achieve carbon neutrality no later than 2041.
The WM2041 report includes:
- 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.
Councillor Ian Courts, the WMCA portfolio holder for environment and leader of Solihull Council, said: “We need to start a conversation with all our communities across the region 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.”
Making West Midlands more environmentally-friendly
Robert van Zyl, partner at Cundall and regional lead for Birmingham, said: “Sustainability permeates through every aspect of Cundall. Achieving net-zero carbon is a huge part of that, and we are fully committed to supporting West Midlands Combined Authority as we work together with the wider community to create a low-carbon economy in the West Midlands.
“The built environment contributes to 40% of the UK’s carbon emissions, and we see tremendous opportunity for us as-built environment specialists to help the region achieve its goal of reaching net-zero carbon by no later than 2041.”
The WM2041 report 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. This includes the ‘brownfield first’ policy for new building development on derelict, industrial land; opening up railway lines closed for decades; and committing to cut out the use of single-use plastics within the organisation by 2020.
The WMCA will use the responses to the seven-week public engagement exercise to create a comprehensive climate strategy, which will be presented to the WMCA board later this year.
A bold vision for zero-carbon
John Alker, director of Policy and Places at UKGBC said: “The WMCA’s plan sets a suitably bold vision for a zero-carbon region by 2041. It is both forward-looking, yet firmly rooted in the region’s rich industrial history.
“The plan recognises the enormous decarbonisation opportunities that buildings and the built environment present, highlighting the importance of tackling carbon emissions from heating and lighting in existing buildings, constructing new homes, and integrating nature into development.
“This sets the direction of travel towards healthy, thriving, sustainable communities that are essential for continuing to attract talent and investment to the region.
“Now comes the difficult part – delivery. Progressive businesses will have a key role to play in unlocking the opportunities envisaged in this plan, and UKGBC, with its growing presence in the region, stands ready to support this transition.”