Greener Solihull Schools Awards

Greener Solihull Schools Awards

Open to all schools in the borough, the awards challenge pupils and teachers to learn more about the environment both locally and globally, and strive to make their school more eco-friendly. There is an incredible breadth of climate action taking place in Solihull schools. Recent award winners have included litter picking initiatives led by students, campaigns to reduce the amount of food waste in school canteens and a group of pupils who created bee hotels to improve biodiversity. Find out how to apply for the awards here.

The 2023 annual awards were attended by seven winning primary schools. Find out more.  

Here are the top five questions asked by schools to the panel at the 2023 awards:

Response from the Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Planning, Councillor Andy Mackiewicz

There is pressure to build homes as the population is growing and young people need affordable housing.  Unfortunately, we need to build on green fields. As a Council, we have a policy of 110% net biodiversity gain to protect the environment and in our proposed new development plan, homes built in 2025 must be net zero.  

Response from Megan, Love Solihull.

To determine where we place our litter bins, and how many bins we put in an area, we use data that we compile from public reports, litter bin audits and our street cleansing team. Quite often we find that in areas where there are high reports of littering, our litter bins remain empty. 

Unfortunately, it is the behaviour of individuals that is often the cause of litter, rather than a lack of bins. This is something we are actively working towards changing by collaborating with local schools and colleges, and through community events. However, if we do find that the community is working to dispose of their litter responsibly but are unable to due to bins being too full, we will most definitely consider additional bins. 

Response from Sarah, Energy Officer, Solihull Council

My team is working with other departments within the Council to pull a paper together about Solihull’s approach to solar panels. This is our borough wide approach, not just for schools. There are several companies that offer different options, approaches and models however, Solihull Council wants to make sure we understand each model before advising schools.

Response from Jo, Love Solihull:

There’s a rule of thumb in the tree planting world, that we should plant ‘the right tree in the right place for the right reason’. Unfortunately, there is not enough land on Earth to tackle climate change with trees alone, although trees are an important natural solution, planting trees is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to combating climate change. 

As we use electric to power our laptops and office lights, we have recently teamed up with a company who measures our energy use and calculates our carbon footprint. We reduce our carbon footprint as much as we can by making sure we turn everything off when we are not using it. 

However, for the energy we need to use, we will offset this by investing in businesses that remove carbon from the air, create renewable energy sources and plant wildflowers and trees. Harper Fox Partners are also a paperless business which means that we don’t use any paper in our office to do our work. This means less trees are being cut down to make paper. We also use reusable water bottles in the office which helps to lower plastic pollution from plastic bottled water.