In the first nationwide assessment of its kind, Solihull Council has been rated as one of the nation’s highest performing local councils when it comes to having a strong and robust climate action plan in place. Published today by Climate Emergency UK, Solihull Council ranked as 5thout of all 409 local authorities in the UK, and 2ndamongst single tier local authorities.
All of the UK’s local council climate action plans published online before 20 September 2021 (and written after 2015) were assessed by a team of over 120 volunteers, trained and overseen by Climate Emergency UK. The independent organisation exists to support local authorities by providing accessible information about best practice and providing a network where local authorities, activists, NGOs, business and local communities can work together.
As part of the comprehensive assessment, each council was asked 28 questions which included whether local residents are being engaged with, if the actions have clear goals, and whether the plans go beyond cutting down the Council’s own emissions. Amongst a wide ranging suite of strategies, assessors scrutinised Solihull’s recently adopted Net Zero Action Plan, which outlines how the borough aims to meet the ambitious goal of becoming ‘net zero’ by 2041. The Council’s plan to ensure its own operations are net zero by 2030 was also one of the reasons behind such a favourable score.
Scoring 85%, the Council’s score is almost double the average in the UK which stands at 46%. With impressive scores across the board, Solihull scored maximum marks on communications and engagement; commitment and integration as well as providing the education, skills and training to enable measurable climate action.
Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council and Portfolio Lead for Environment, Energy & HS2 at the West Midlands Combined Authority, said:
“I’m thrilled to see the Council’s plans to tackle climate change recognised as one of highest rated in the country. The assessment, undertaken by Climate Emergency UK, found our plans to reduce both council and borough wide emissions to be amongst the most well thought out and robust plans in the country. It’s also brilliant to be collaborating so closely with the WMCA, the top performing combined authority and ranked 2nd placed overall in the table.
“Here in Solihull we recognise the immediacy of the climate emergency and the consequences it brings. Since formally recognising the scale of the emergency in October 2019, we’ve been working hard to produce a meaningful action plan which outlines our journey to becoming a ‘net zero’ borough.
“Whilst acutely aware of the challenges Solihull faces, for example the serious flooding that affected residents in Dorridge last year, we’re determined to maximise new opportunities and make sure Solihull plays a leading part in the Green Industrial Revolution taking place across the West Midlands. Uncertainty for the future will inevitably remain, but the exceptional climate plans we’ve developed ensure Solihull is well placed to rise to the challenge."
Councillor Andy Mackiewicz, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Climate Change, Planning and Housing, said:
“I’m proud to see Solihull Council’s climate action plans being heralded as an exemplar for other local authorities across the UK to look up to. From hosting climate change podcasts, to engaging future climate leaders in a model COP26 summit in the council chamber, the breadth of our climate initiatives has been growing year on year. I want to thank all those involved in developing the plans which helped us score so highly and for communicating the success of our achievements to date. However, this is just the start of our journey and there is a lot more to come. We’ll continue to put the environment at the heart of our work, and strive to make Solihull a more sustainable place to live."
Annie Pickering, Campaigns and Policy Officer at Climate Emergency UK, said:
“This year’s Scorecards are just the start of the process. It has been an important exercise to understand what makes a good council climate action plan and we hope that it will help councils learn from each other and up their game. A good plan will help a local authority deliver effective actions, while having it easily available on the council website will enable local residents to know what their council has committed to and so hold the council to account.”
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