Solihull Council’s natural environmental work rated best in the West Midlands


Solihull Council’s natural environment work has been rated as the joint highest out of 21 local authorities in the West Midlands by the independent organisation, Sustainability West Midlands. The Council’s overall progress towards sustainability also scored favourably in the annual benchmarking exercise, ranking 5th out of 21 local authorities.

Sustainability West Midlands (SWM) is an independent sustainability adviser for leaders in the West Midlands. Working with public, private and third sectors, SWM provides advice, practical solutions and promotes cross-sector good practice. Its Local Authority Sustainability Benchmark Report 2022 sets out the progress West Midlands local authorities are making on sustainability.

Impressed with Solihull Council’s notable environmental work and focus on improving biodiversity, natural capital and tree planting, SWM featured this as a case study which other local authorities could take inspiration from. Projects that were highlighted in the case study include:

  • The Arden Free Tree Scheme: an initiative whereby an individual or group can apply for funding to create hedgerows or small woodlands on their own land, within Solihull.
  • Solihull’s Habitat and Nature Improvements Scheme: a series of grassland, wetland, woodland and tree planting improvements which have increased and strengthened the capacity of the natural environment across the region.
  • Wildlife Ways: a £17 million programme, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), which saw massive environmental improvements across the borough.
  • The Small Habitat Grant Programme: an initiative which provided grants of between £20,000 and £200,000 to improve the conservation status of land in the wider area.
  • Planting Our Future: a commitment to plant 250,000 trees in the borough within ten years. In the first two years over 51,000 trees have been planted.

Councillor Andy Mackiewicz, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Climate Change, Planning and Housing, said:

“It’s fantastic to see our environmental work scoring so highly at a regional level yet again. This builds on the momentum of recently receiving various national and regional environmental awards. Thanks to the hard work of numerous council officers, we’ve been able to deliver an incredibly wide-ranging suite of environmental projects that have made a real difference to the community.

“In keeping with the Council’s motto ‘urbs in rure’ or town in the country, we recognise that Solihull’s natural environment is one of its greatest assets. Prioritising the enhancement and conservation of our natural environment helps us to offset some of our carbon emissions, increase biodiversity and brings well-known associated wellbeing and mental health benefits. I look forward to seeing what 2023 has in store.”

You can view the West Midlands Local Sustainability Benchmark 2022 Summary Report here.

To learn more about what the Council is doing to combat climate change and create a more sustainable borough, listen to the ‘Courts on Climate Change’ podcast, available on the Council websiteSpotifyApple Podcasts and YouTube. If you’d like to keep up to date with all the climate change and sustainability news from the Council, you can sign up to the Your Future Solihull newsletter.