21st Sep, 2020

Solihull Council responds to threat of legal challenge over climate change plans

Sarah Mason 5th Nov, 2019 Updated: 5th Nov, 2019

SOLIHULL Council has written to environmental lawyers in response to a legal challenge over climate change plans.

In September, as we reported, ClientEarth warned the council it faced a legal challenge if it failed to prepare adequately for the effects of the climate crisis.

However since then a Climate Change Prospectus gained cross-party support at a full council meeting last month, as we reported.

The Prospectus commits to making the council carbon neutral by 2031 and the borough by 2041.

The council say it is a better mechanism to tackle climate change within the borough than simply inserting a target into the Local Plan.

The council’s Local Plan is a blueprint for how the borough will be developed for housing and other purposes over the next two decades

Client Earth’s challenge was for the council to do more to reduce carbon emissions associated with future developments including housing development.

Councillor Andy Mackiewicz, cabinet member for climate change, planning and housing said: “We have responded to ClientEarth to explain that our recent Climate Change Prospectus, which gained cross party support at Council, provides a much more wide-ranging and practical answer to the climate change challenge for Solihull.

“The Local Plan will still play an important role in addressing climate change and will include policies designed to contribute towards carbon reduction.

“However, it is not a legal requirement that the plan includes a carbon reduction target and planning action alone will not solve the climate change challenge. Unlike our Climate Change Prospectus, which is a more proactive set of wide-ranging actions and policy imperatives that will move the council and the borough towards carbon neutrality on an agreed timescale.

“However, we are not ignoring the role of the Local Plan. We will ensure it has net ecological gain and strong climate change policies built into it. We have asked ClientEarth for any practical policy suggestions they may have and are keen to hear about anything that can help us achieve the ambitions set out in our Climate Change Prospectus.”

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