SOLIHULL Council has responded to climate change concerns by agreeing a new target to become carbon neutral by 2030.
It was hailed as a “critical moment”, even by political opponents – amid rare unity across the political divide.
Others said it was now time to “get on with it”.
Conservative ruling councillors and all opposition councillors unanimously committed to the authority becoming “net carbon zero” within 11 years alongside other measures debated at a full council meeting on Tuesday (October 8).
Another agreed 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 debated on Tuesday followed 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, including the WMCA itself, have recently introduced such measures, under pressure to declare a ‘climate emergency’.
Solihull’s new wide-ranging plans were welcomed across the political party divide.
They included an agreed amendment put forward by Green Party councillor Max McLoughlin, to set the authority annual targets for carbon emissions reduction, with reports on progress.
Other amendments were to encourage the WMCA to adopt an earlier date to reduce emissions regionally.
A new Climate Change Commission at the council is to be set up. But calls were rejected for it to include politicians from other parties.
Following the meeting Coun Mackiewicz said: “The Conservative group presented a comprehensive climate changed motion at full council, which was supported by all political parties.
“This consolidated the existing polices and has provided a framework to continue the carbon reduction in the council and wider in the borough.
“The council will lead this by demonstrating our activities will be net zero carbon by 2030.
“I am very pleased to get support from all members in the fight against climate change.”
Coun Chris Williams from the Green Party tweeted: “Climate Emergency motion passes at Solihull Council unanimously after nearly two-and-a-half hours of debate. Critical moment.
“Now the real work starts for the council to get on with it.
“We expect many more years discussing and scrutinising action on tackling the climate emergency.”
Coun Laura McCarthy, Liberal Democrat, tweeted: “Great motion passed at council last night to tackle the climate emergency with real action and not just words.
“Some good debate and a lot of passion across the chamber with everyone on the same side.
“Looking forward to seeing real change in Solihull.”