THE first plan for the region’s natural environment has been officially launched on the banks of the River Stour.
The Natural Environment Plan sets out the actions the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and its partners will take over the next five years to enhance the region’s biodiversity, protect endangered species, and improve access to green spaces and waterways.
The plan is split into four themes of: access to greenspace; tree and hedgerow planting; wildlife corridors; and supporting financing to make these proposed changes happen.
The plan also highlights the benefits of nature for our health and wellbeing, recognising the impact of the Covid pandemic on urban areas with little access to greenspace.
The official launch was led by Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, and Councillor Ian Courts, WMCA portfolio lead for Environment and Energy and Leader of Solihull Council.
Coun Courts said: “As our climate continues to change, our ‘natural capital’ and nature-based solutions will be key to improving resilience, and through providing a means for us to adapt. Tree planting for example has an important role in providing better places, as well as being a natural flood mitigation measure.
“This first Natural Environment Plan for the region will seek to coordinate efforts across the West Midlands Combined Authority area. We will need to work with constituent and non-constituent authorities; business; communities and with environmental non-governmental organisations and third sector organisations.
“Our activities will celebrate the fantastic work that is already happening here in the West Midlands and find new opportunities for collaboration. I am excited about this Plan, but it is important that we work together towards shared outcomes that address both the climate as well as the ecological emergencies that we are facing.”
The Plan follows this year’s #WM2041 Five Year Plan, which sets out how to keep the region on track for reaching net zero by 2041.
It aims to deliver a series of long-term outcomes, one of which is for everybody to have access to high quality greenspace within a 300-metre walk of their home.