The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has today released a status update on the development of its plans to tackle the climate change emergency across the region.
WMCA leaders agreed in July this year that the region would aim to become a zero-carbon economy no later than 2041. The latest update outlines the ten ways in which the region can meet the challenge, and outlines the work the WMCA is already doing, such as investing in new transport infrastructure, cleaning up brownfield land, eliminating the use of single-use plastics, and attracting an electric battery gigafactory to the region.
The full proposals, which were due to be discussed this month but have been delayed by the pre-election period, will be outlined in a green paper to be debated and discussed by the WMCA board in January 2020. It is hoped that this paper will lead to a campaign being launched across the West Midlands encouraging councils, businesses and residents to work with the WMCA to discuss the ideas, develop new proposals and agree a way forward that could see the region lead the way in finding new forms of cleaner industry and different ways of living and working.
Cllr Ian Courts, leader of Solihull Council and WMCA portfolio lead for environment said: “We are absolutely clear about the need for sustained focus and the importance of developing a blueprint for the future that recognises the systemic nature of the issues that climate change will create.
“As you can see from this status update, the WMCA is already doing a lot to tackle climate change, particularly addressing the carbon emissions caused by transport. I look forward to proposing the full green paper to the WMCA Board in January, and to engaging with everyone who lives and works across the region.
"We know that by working together on the issue we can be bold, innovative and – most importantly – make a real difference to protecting the environment.”
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, who chairs the WMCA, said: “The West Midlands was the birthplace of the original Industrial Revolution, but now it is time for us to lead a clean industrial revolution.
“There is no escaping the fact that climate change is an emergency and one that must be addressed now so we can secure a future for our younger generations. I firmly believe that, given our industrial past, it is up to the West Midlands to shoulder the responsibility of this and lead the way in forging a carbon-neutral future.
“The 2041 target we have set is ambitious, but more importantly it is one we can achieve whilst protecting and growing our economy.
“There’s good work already underway across the region and our challenge will be to support this and identify areas where we will need to come together and speak with one voice to government to make a compelling investment case on issues like a battery gigafactory, electric vehicle charging, building new public transport links and helping young people get careers in clean technology industries.”
Mayor Andy Street has also joined London mayor Sadiq Khan in calling for more devolved powers from Government to help the regions tackle climate change.