SOLIHULL’s annual greenhouse gas emissions are currently estimated to be 1.3million tonnes of CO2 equivalent – roughly equal to driving a diesel car around the equator 200,000 times.
It’s in the wake of such statistics that the local authority has unveiled its draft action plan for tackling the borough’s CO2 emissions.
The council is now calling on residents, businesses and key stakeholders to take a look at its new draft Net Zero Action Plan (NZAP) and to help develop a priority list of actions to take forward.
In the UK climate change is set to cause warmer, wetter winters and hotter, drier summers, as well as more extreme weather events. Communities across Solihull are already starting to see the effects of extreme weather, with flooding being a particular issue.
Now Solihull Council has set an important ambition of achieving net zero carbon emissions for the borough by 2041.
‘Net zero’ means that the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted is balanced out (or offset) by the carbon that is removed from the atmosphere.
Supported by sustainability consultants Anthesis, a Green Paper was produced in February setting out the evidence base for action and identifying some of the changes that need to occur across the borough.
This document was used to kick-start conversations about how Solihull can achieve its net zero ambition, and local residents and businesses were asked to share their views.
The Solihull Climate Change Commission, which provides independent, cross sector and cross-party advice to the Council, conducted a review of the Green Paper and also provided formal feedback which has been used to inform the emerging Net Zero Action Plan.
Council officers will be gathering further feedback on the draft NZAP over the next five weeks and plan to hold a number of events to discuss the next steps in finalising the Net Zero Action Plan. Residents can view the emerging Action Plan, share their thoughts and find out more by visiting netzerosolihull.co.uk
Councillor Andy Mackiewicz, cabinet member for climate change, planning and housing, said: “With the UK hosting COP26 this year we have a fantastic opportunity to really put the climate change agenda in the spotlight.
“While the road ahead will pose many challenges it also offers exciting opportunities for us all to make positive changes to the way we live, work and travel while encouraging us to embrace new technologies.
“Managed properly our transition to a carbon net zero society has the potential to unlock huge economic growth as we attract new investment in green jobs and infrastructure.
“It can also bring other benefits such as better air quality, an improved natural environment, more comfortable homes and reduced energy costs. We should see this challenge as a pivotal moment but also an unprecedented opportunity.
“Achieving net zero by 2041 will require rapid and significant shifts from current activities across all sectors.
“Our Green Paper clearly outlined some of the interventions that will need to take place, in other words, ‘the what’. We now need to turn our attention to ‘the how’ and that’s where our Net Zero Action Plan comes in.
“We want to know where you think we should be focusing our efforts, and what’s important to you. We want to make sure our transition to net zero is fair to everyone in Solihull – so it’s really important to get involved and have your say.”