Green plan for West Midlands coronavirus recovery unveiled

The plan sets out a range of initiatives from small-scale through to potentially region-wide and complex schemes.

An ambitious plan to help the region recover from the economic impact of COVID-19 while making it a greener and healthier place to live and work, has been given the go-ahead.

The blueprint – WM2041: A Programme for Implementing an Environmental Recovery – was approved by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) board on Friday, coinciding with the United Nations’ World Environment Day.

The plan for a green recovery builds on an existing commitment to make the West Midlands carbon neutral by 2041.

The strategy sets out how the West Midlands can rebuild its economy in a way that drives green and inclusive growth so that all the region’s diverse communities and its environment can benefit from the post-COVID-19 recovery.

The paper sets out a range of initiatives from small-scale through to potentially region-wide and complex schemes, that will be implemented over different timescales but starting now.

These include:

  • retrofitting old homes to make them more energy-efficient and help tackle fuel poverty
  • accelerating the transition of the region’s automotive industry to electric vehicles
  • rolling out charging infrastructure for electric vehicles at scale
  • announcing a green innovation challenge for SMEs to find solutions for some of our climate change challenges
  • supporting the growth of green neighbourhoods and natural capital
  • active transport initiatives, for example, pop-up cycle lanes and widened pavements

Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, explained that the region’s economic recovery from coronavirus must be green and inclusive.

“We now need to come together as a region – including businesses, communities, and local authorities – to make this plan happen and help build a stronger, greener and more inclusive recovery for everyone in the region”, he said.

Approval of the blueprint by the WMCA Board will also help support the delivery of the Government’s national target to be carbon neutral by 2050 while ensuring no one is left behind.

Lily Eaves, a Coventrian and member of the Young Combined Authority, which is a board of more than 30 young people, said: “We are really pleased to see that [the plan] is now moving to a point where there is focus on delivery and action as part of a green and inclusive recovery from COVID-19.”

“As young people, we see addressing climate change as important for our future that should involve all communities and create opportunities for people in the region.”

Following Friday’s approval, work will start immediately this week on the projects.