Skip to main content

West Midlands Natural Environment Plan: 2021 - 2026

Vision and Outcomes

The natural environment plays an important role in helping the region achieve net zero by 2041. Our aim is to use our convening power to achieve biodiversity net gain across the region.

Our vision is of a West Midlands where everybody can enjoy the benefits of the natural environment and that, through careful planning and collaboration, we protect, restore and enhance the region’s natural capital to address both the climate and ecological emergencies.

Our Natural Environment Plan sets out to deliver the following outcomes:

  • Everybody can access high quality green space within a 300m walk of their home.
  • Forestry cover should be increased from approximately 1.5% today to 13%, aligning as much as possible with the long-term aims for England (this equates to planting an additional 5.7m trees by 2026 and 19m by 2041)13.
  • Creation /restoration of 6 wildlife corridors along the Rivers Cole, Rea, Sherbourne, Stour and Blythe and HS2 development in line with our key stakeholder’s priorities. We will also support work on the region's canals as important wildlife corridors.
  • All rivers to be restored to good condition by 2030, targeting 5 by 2025.
  • Support the creation of 200 jobs in natural capital by 2026 (and 700 by 2041), in line with the evidence in the Five Year Plan.

We know additional outcomes will need to be considered with the publication of the Environment Bill, for example the anticipated requirement for 10% biodiversity net gain in all new developments. We also plan to take forward strategies that have overlap with this Natural Environment Plan, for example a regional adaptation strategy that will identify an important role for nature-based solutions in increasing climate resilience. We also recognise that our constituent local authorities are working with locally derived targets that may differ from some of those expressed here.