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Green recovery plan for West Midlands

An ambitious plan to help the West Midlands region recover from the economic impact of Covid-19 while making it a greener and healthier place to live and work has been given the go-ahead.

Future Cities Forum is looking forward to talking to Cllr Ian Courts, WMCA portfolio lead for environment and Leader of Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council this week about the plans to tackle climate change and what shape 'prosperity' in the region will take.

The plan for a green recovery builds on an existing commitment to make the West Midlands carbon neutral by 2041. The strategy sets out how the West Midlands can rebuild the economy in a way that drives green and inclusive growth, so that all the region's diverse communities and the environment can benefit from the post-Covid 19 recovery.

The paper sets out a range of initiatives from small-scale through to potentially region-wide and complex schemes, that will be implemented over different timescales but starting now.

These include:

- retrofitting old and cold homes to make them more energy efficient and help tackle fuel poverty;

- accelerating the transition of the region's automotive industry to electric vehicles;

- rolling out charging infrastructure for electric vehicles at scale;

- announcing a green innovation challenge for SMEs to find solutions for some of our climate change challenges;

- supporting the growth of green neighbourhoods and natural capital, and

- active transport initiatives, for example pop-up cycle lanes and widened pavements.

Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, said: 'The region's economic recovery from Coronavirus must be green and inclusive...we now need to come together as a region including businesses, communities and local authorities to make this plan happen and help build a stronger, green and more inclusive recovery for everyone in the region'.

It is considered that approval of the blueprint of the WMCA Board will also help support the delivery of the Government's national target to be carbon neutral by 2050 while ensuring that no one is left behind.

Cllr Ian Courts, WMCA portfolio lead for environment and leader of Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council said:

'The climate crisis has not gone away, and climate change continues to be one of the biggest threats to environment and society.

'While the COVID -19 pandemic has been hugely disruptive and challenging for many of us it has given us a moment to pause and reflect on what kind of future we want in the West Midlands and what 'prosperity' means in not just economic but also social and environmental terms. That's why this ambitious plan has been drawn up which would benefit the region on a huge scale'.

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