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Executive summary

In 2019 the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) set the region a target to be net zero by 2041 and meet the ambitions set out by the Paris Agreement. This is the first Five Year Plan (FYP) to demonstrate how the region could deliver the 2041 target and it shows:

  • Under a highly ambitious ‘Accelerated’ scenario, goals in domestic, commercial, industrial, transport and land use sectors could deliver a 33% reduction by 2026 (against 2016 baseline) and net zero by 2041. The “Accelerated” scenario is recommended to be used as the standard to set the delivery goal ambitions.
  • When considering current efforts and actions and the scale and pace required, the region is currently not on target.
  • The change in delivery pace required is huge and unprecedented. It requires collaboration and delivery across all sectors well beyond current efforts.
  • Delivery of this FYP to move the region to a net zero carbon society will represent an investment in the region’s future and create a better West Midlands. Although action and investment within the region and by WMCA is crucial, the goals will require devolution of powers, additional government investment and action by the public.
  • Gross extra investment required under the ‘Accelerated’ scenario is £4.3bn by 2026. However, net investment will be much lower due to operational savings.
  • 41% of delivery is related to technology, 16% requires behaviour changes and 43% is a combination of both. (Taken from Committee on Climate Change, Sixth Carbon Budget)
  • Delivering the ‘Accelerated’ scenario could create 21,000 jobs by 2026 and 72,000 by 2041.

To set the region on course to deliver the net zero target by 2041, this FYP identifies key priorities for delivery, working with regional stakeholders, including:

  1. Set up a regional approach to work with stakeholders to unlock investment to deliver energy efficient homes for up to 294,000 dwellings, with low carbon heating in 292,000, at a total cost of £3.6bn, reducing energy bills, fuel poverty and creating jobs.
  2. Unlock investment of up to £70m in land based renewables and £483m on rooftop PV by 2026.
  3. Energy Capital will support local authorities, LEPs and stakeholders to undertake and implement local area energy planning, enable net zero energy systems and renewables delivery.
  4. Be a pathfinder for energy devolution and regulatory change to drive competitiveness of the region’s industrial and commercial sectors, positioned as a global leader in the net zero transition as part of the WM Industrial Strategy.
  5. Support changes in the way we travel through reduction in car usage and a much higher modal share of public transport and cycling. TfWM will continue to work with local authorities to deliver improvements to active travel and public transport as set out in the existing Local Transport Plan (LTP), Movement for Growth, as well as producing a new LTP aligned to WM2041.
  6. Implement the Zero Carbon Homes Routemap which provides clear actions and targets for reducing operational, embodied and whole life emissions for new residential development.
  7. Work with stakeholders to secure inward investment that supports green growth, including a battery Gigafactory and electric vehicle charging facilities, powered by clean energy infrastructure.
  8. Launch a Net Zero Business Pledge to enable businesses in the region to become champions and understand how they can play their part.
  9. Establish a regional natural capital board to produce a natural capital plan for the West Midlands to increase forestry cover from 1.5 to 13% at a cost of £60m up to 2026.
  10. Work with stakeholders to develop and drive behaviour change initiatives across the region.
  11. Work with colleges, universities and employers to develop the skills and training programmes required to provide the work force for the net zero transition.