14th Nov, 2019

Solihull Council Conservative leaders respond to climate change criticisms by proposing to be 'net carbon zero' by 2030

Les Reid 4th Oct, 2019 Updated: 4th Oct, 2019

SOLIHULL Council has responded to criticisms concerning climate change with new target proposals to become carbon neutral by 2030.

Conservative ruling councillors’ proposed pledge for the authority to be “net carbon zero” within 11 years is among measures to be debated at a full council meeting on Tuesday.

Another proposed commitment is to work with West Midlands Combined Authority towards WMCA’s already agreed target of ‘net-zero emissions’ across the region by 2041.

Councillor Andy Mackiewicz’s motion follows criticisms from Green opposition councillors, environmental lawyers and Friends of the Earth, which recently claimed Solihull was the worst performing West Midlands region council for action against climate change in allegations dismissed by leaders.

Other councils in the region have in recent months introduced a range of measures, under pressure to declare a ‘climate emergency’.

The cabinet member for climate change’s motion, published online on the agenda ahead of the meeting, will call for the support of all other councillors.

It states:

“The Council wishes to make the following statement of intent to protect the environment.

“Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council recognises the gravity of the climate change emergency and will through its Climate Change Prospectus seek to minimise the environmental impacts of its own activities and will contribute to the improvement of the wider environment through local action.

“There is an increasing recognition that the problems of climate change, air pollution and reduction of species & biodiversity need to be treated together. Few any longer dispute the existence of the actual problem of climate change. However, the solution requires a recognition that action on many fronts is needed by government, business and individuals, across the globe. We will work with nature, rather than against it, to ensure continued economic success of Solihull in the interests of all its people.

“We will work with residents and our partners to navigate a best route to protect the environment. There needs to be a just transition for our residents and for business, taking them with us, so as to protect employment and avoid adverse effects on our people, our economy and our communities.”

“The above will be signed by Leader of Council and Chief Executive and for it to be posted on the Council website.

“To implement the above statement of intent the Council will:-

1. Use every effective means to raise awareness, with the public and partners, of the issues and encourage individual action to reduce environmental impact.

2. Take action to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants from our own activities, buildings, transport, resources and waste, ensuring that we continue to invest in the Borough’s natural capital, greening the borough’s economy through our local plan and investments – aiming to become net carbon zero, as a Council, by 2030.

3. Solihull Council will collaborate with and support the Combined Authority in its plan for a West Midlands target of net-zero emissions by 2041, making sure we take communities with us, protect employment, and avoid adversely affecting the local economy and impoverishing deprived communities.

4. To work with the WMCA in seeking from the UK Government the powers and resources to help deliver a just transition.

5. Lead by example and actively encourage responsible environmental practice amongst staff, contractors, suppliers and residents, and encourage local communities to start taking action to implement local air quality and carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction initiatives.

6. Establish a Climate Change Commission that can make recommendations to how we can further the aims of the Climate Change Prospectus and achieve the aims of this Declaration.

7. Engage with businesses, schools and the wider community to promote less polluting technology and modes of transport, and more energy-efficient buildings in the Borough.

8. We will produce a robust, credible and fair Energy Framework which will drive the delivery of a low carbon borough, ensuring that local challenges and opportunities are fully understood and enabling Solihull to play its full part in delivering regional targets.

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