Solihull Council is calling on residents to join in and help to shape an ambitious new action plan to reduce the borough’s carbon emissions.
Recognising the scale of the climate emergency, Solihull Council has set an important ambition of achieving net zero carbon emissions for the borough by 2041. ‘Net zero’ or ‘carbon neutral’ means that the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted is balanced out (or offset) by the carbon that is removed from the atmosphere. Achieving net zero will require decisive action to be taken at all levels.
In the UK climate change is set to cause warmer, wetter winters and hotter, drier summers, as well as more extreme weather events. Communities across Solihull are already starting to see the effects of extreme weather, with flooding being a particular issue.
In response to this, Solihull Council is developing a Net Zero Action Plan for the borough supported by sustainability consultants Anthesis, to help us understand what actions can be taken to reduce the borough’s emissions and chart a clear course for achieving Net Zero.
Solihull’s annual greenhouse gas emissions are currently estimated to be 1.3 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent. That’s roughly equal to driving a diesel car around the equator 200,000 times.
As a first step towards developing Solihull’s Net Zero Action Plan, a Green Paper has been prepared which sets out the evidence base for action and identifies the changes that need to occur across the borough. This document acts as a high-level discussion paper to kick-start conversations about how Solihull can achieve its net zero ambition, and local residents and businesses are being asked to share their views.
Cllr Andy Mackiewicz - Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Planning & Housing, said:
“We know that we are at a critical moment in combating climate change. The evidence in our Green Paper highlights the speed and scale of the changes that are needed locally.
“While the road ahead will pose many challenges it also offers exciting opportunities for us all to make positive changes to the way we live, work and travel while encouraging us to embrace new technologies. Managed properly our transition to a carbon net zero society has the potential to unlock huge economic growth as we attract new investment in green jobs and infrastructure. This burgeoning sector will be critical to the region and the country’s economic fightback as we emerge from the COVID pandemic. It can also bring other benefits such as better air quality, an improved natural environment, more comfortable homes and reduced energy costs. We should see this challenge as a pivotal moment but also an unprecedented opportunity.
“We are already taking huge steps in the right direction with initiatives like our Electric Vehicle Strategy, plans for a new low carbon Energy Centre next to Tudor Grange Leisure Centre and our ambitious tree planting schemes. Progress is being made in other areas too. Just last week Jaguar Land Rover announced its own plans to become a net zero carbon business by 2039. Things are moving in the right direction but we will need everyone’s help to get to net zero.
“Our Green Paper clearly outlines the interventions that will need to take place, in other words, ‘the what’. We now need to turn our attention to ‘the how’ and that’s where our Net Zero Action Plan comes in. We want to know where you think we should be focusing our efforts, and what’s important to you. We want to make sure our transition to net zero is fair to everyone in Solihull – that why we want to hear from you now at this early stage in developing Solihull’s Net Zero Action Plan.”
A new website has been launched today which allows residents to view the Council’s Green Paper, share their views and make comments. Council officers will be gathering feedback on the Green Paper over the next six weeks and plan to hold a number of virtual webinars to discuss the next steps in developing a Net Zero Action Plan. Residents can go to netzerosolihull.co.uk to find out more.