After much build up and anticipation, COP26, the global United Nations summit on climate change is now underway in Glasgow, lasting until 12 November. Agreements signed during the next two weeks will influence the rate of climate change across the entire planet, including right here in Solihull.
Alongside the global targets agreed in Glasgow, Solihull Council and residents throughout the borough have been working hard in leading the fight against climate change at a local level. Read on for a snapshot of what’s currently going on in Solihull.
Recognising the scale of the climate emergency it’s our ambition for Solihull to reduce its borough-wide CO2 emissions to net zero by 2041. The key plan which captures our response to the climate emergency is Solihull’s Net Zero Action Plan. After receiving feedback from residents and businesses earlier this year, the plan will be discussed at the next cabinet meeting during COP26.
You may have listened to our brand new podcast, ‘Courts on Climate Change’, which launched last week. The series helps listeners understand what people in Solihull are doing in the fight against climate change and what we can all learn from them. Councillor Courts, Leader of Solihull Council is joined by host David Gregory-Kumar from BBC Midlands Today and a range of special guests during the series. You can listen to the podcast on the Council website, Spotify or Apple Podcasts. Further episodes will be released shortly on ‘Energy’ and ‘Future Transport’.
Engaging with schools and young people is one of the Council's key priorities when it comes to climate action. Hearing from the next generation of scientists, innovators and policy makers inspires us to think in new ways when addressing current challenges. On the 11 November, we’re hosting the Solihull Schools Climate Conference, which includes a student-led model COP26 summit. Later in the month Business Champions will present the annual Greener Solihull School Awards, which highlight some of the fantastic green initiatives taking place in schools from all corners of the borough. The Council organised Youth Climate Action Survey is also currently live, and wants to hear from young people aged 11-25 about their ideas and views.
Retrofitting homes and rising energy prices have featured heavily in the news recently. Unfortunately this disproportionately affects low-income and energy inefficient homes more than most. Here in Solihull, the council is helping to deliver the Solihull Green Homes Grant, which offers householders up to £10,000 if the eligibility criteria is met.
Finally, enhancing Solihull’s natural environment, one of the borough’s greatest assets, is high on the Council’s agenda. As part of the ‘Planting our Future’ campaign, the Council has committed to planting 250,000 trees over the next 10 years with schools, residents, businesses and community groups, with the help of the Solihull Tree Wardens.
Councillor Courts, Leader of Solihull Council, said:
“Climate change has dominated the news recently and rightly so. There’s been a noticeable shift in mainstream media in the amount of coverage it’s getting and the sense of urgency that’s needed to help save our planet from potentially devastating consequences. At a local level, here in Solihull and the West Midlands, I’m proud of the wide ranging action we’re taking to reduce our carbon emissions across all sectors.
“To achieve real change, collective action is required and even the smallest of actions helps make a difference. During the next two weeks why not have a think about what you can do to reduce your carbon footprint and do your bit to help the environment. In order to achieve our ambitious target of becoming a net zero borough by 2041, it’s going to take significant behavioural change from each and every one of us.
“At a wider regional level, I’m delighted to be opening the COP26 Regional Roadshow on 11 November, in my role as Portfolio Lead for Environment, Energy & HS2 at the West Midlands Combined Authority. The event will highlight the region’s leading status as a centre for green and low carbon technologies. All across Solihull there is the potential for a major jobs boost in a rapidly emerging low carbon economy. I’m confident that Solihull will be at the forefront of this exciting transformation.”
Councillor Mackiewicz, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Climate Change, Planning and Housing, said:
“Our borough wide Net Zero Action Plan is one of the most important strategies for the future of Solihull. Following multiple rounds of consultation earlier in the year, I’m looking forward to discussing it at cabinet at a time which coincides with COP26 being at the forefront of everyone’s mind.
“Our Net Zero Action Plan takes a deep dive into the borough’s existing carbon emissions and what action is needed to reach ‘net zero’ by 2041. Twenty years may sound like a long time, but it will come round surprisingly quickly. There’s no time to waste in reducing emissions across the five key themes which the action plan identifies; buildings, transport, waste and industry, energy and the environment. Once a robust plan is in place, we’ll be well placed to take the necessary action.”
If you would like to learn more about what the Council’s is doing to combat climate change and create a more sustainable borough, sign up to receive updates.