Efforts to combat climate change have again been evaluated by Climate Emergency UK, a not-for-profit organisation who assess all the UK’s local councils and their climate change initiatives.
This year’s scorecards focused on the actions councils have taken towards achieving net zero emissions so far. Although scores were down across the board, Solihull Council achieved a higher than average score compared to other UK local authorities. The Council has also been ranked as the second highest performing council when compared to the constituent authorities of the West Midlands Combined Authority.
Solihull Council scored particularly well in the categories of ‘collaboration and engagement’ and ‘biodiversity’. Climate Emergency UK recognised the Council’s considerable work with schools, which includes the annual Greener Solihull School Awards and model COP debate in the Council Chamber. The methodology noted the well-presented climate change webpages which are easily accessible and include plenty of information about behavioural change, including for example a series of climate themed podcasts with the Leader of the Council. The scoring also acknowledged the Council’s progress towards increasing tree cover, with 75,000 trees planted over the last three years for the Planting our Future programme.
Councillor Andy Mackiewicz, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Climate Change & Planning, said:
“I’m grateful to Climate Emergency UK for undertaking this nationwide assessment of local authorities’ progress on tackling climate change and appreciate the sheer scale involved in such a task. Whilst we don’t fully agree with some of the scoring and methodology used, we acknowledge that this is a very hard process to get right, and the feedback still helps to show us where our efforts should be focused going forwards. We feel more credit should be given to our low landfill rates and our waste to energy plant which reduces CO2 emissions by replacing fossil fuel for energy generation. We have also recently started to send our recycling to a new state of the art material recycling facility, which means more of the material collected at the kerbside will be recycled.
“As a Council, we’d like to work more closely with Climate Emergency UK in the future to ensure all the great climate action taking place in Solihull is properly captured by the volunteer markers when assessing our progress. However, at the cornerstone of our plan is a just transition towards net zero and taking people with us. We will not adopt policies that harm our residents just to score points.
“We’ll take the feedback into consideration as we continue to implement the borough’s Net Zero Action Plan, which has a target of Solihull being a net zero borough by 2041, nine years ahead of the UK’s national net zero target.”
This year’s exercise by Climate Emergency UK is a follow up to the 2021 exercise where Solihull Council’s climate action plan was ranked as one of the nation’s highest performing local councils when it comes to having a strong and robust climate action plan in place.
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