18 June 2021 – Message from Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council


The surge in the COVID Delta variant has led the government to delay the final relaxation of restrictions for four weeks; this extra time will help an even greater proportion of the population get vaccinated. In Solihull the cases are rising and I can only urge everyone to get fully vaccinated as soon as possible, as this is the single most effective measure against COVID.

This is a race between people getting two doses of vaccine and the spread of COVID.  Let’s make sure we win by taking up the vaccine when offered.

Yesterday was Clean Air Day, the UK campaign which aims to raise awareness of one of the biggest environmental health risks faced by today’s society.  This is one issue where our actions will count towards cleaner air.

Leaving the car at home - even for one day per week - can help make a difference, as road traffic is one of the main causes of air pollution.  This handy pollution calculator measures your impact on air pollution Personal Air Pollution Calculator.

The borough’s air is within national air quality objectives, but it is still a Council priority to improve air quality as part of our journey to being Net Zero Carbon by 2041. Cleaner air will come from reducing the use of combustion engines.   We are working closely with schools, residents and businesses to help them develop sustainable travel plans – switching to cleaner forms of travel such as cycling, walking and public transport.

Pupils at some of our schools have taken on the issue and joined our anti-idling campaign, encouraging people to switch their engines off when waiting outside the school gates or indeed in other circumstances where you really do not need to keep the engine running, such as in a queue at the filling station!!

To support wider use of electric vehicles (EVs) we have a programme of installing more electric charging points as part of an On-street Residential Charge Point scheme and I see more and more people making the shift to EVs. Through our  Cycling and Walking Strategy we will make it easier and more pleasant to walk and cycle around the borough. 

I had a meeting yesterday with a company marketing electric scooters / mopeds / motorbikes, who have moved their HQ to Solihull.  To tackle the climate change challenge, meet our net zero ambitions and have cleaner air, we will all need to alter our behaviours in one way or another.  There are more and more alternatives to fossil fuel vehicles and the range of options is growing.

When I was Mayor I championed Prostate Cancer awareness as it affected me – and I had no idea until I was tested. I know it affects thousands of other men across the UK every year.  With Father’s Day this Sunday, it is an opportunity for families to urge the men in their lives to check ‘that they are ok’ and to assess their risk factors.

About one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. It’s not known exactly what causes prostate cancer, but there are some things that may mean you are more likely to get it. There’s lots of useful information on the Prostate Cancer UK website including a signs and symptoms page and risk factors questionnaire.

Men – stop being shy, your family need you to be alert to the risks and symptoms!

Keep doing the right things for you, your family, friends and this wonderful borough of ours.

Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council