West Midlands’ carbon emissions drop while economy grows

Carbon emissions across the seven council areas which make up the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) were cut by 3.8% in a year, new figures show.

At the same time, between 2016 and 2017, the region’s economy grew by 3.6% (£3.5 billion).

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, who chairs the WMCA, said the figures show clean growth – where economic output increases while carbon emissions reduce – is working in the region.

Government figures released on July 4 show the WMCA area is producing 4.0 tonnes of emissions per capita, against an England average of 5.1 tonnes.

The Mayor said: “Reducing our carbon emissions is one of the most important ways we can help to limit the impacts of climate change. To do this while also growing our economy is testament to how the West Midlands is leading the Clean Industrial Revolution.

“The WMCA has always prioritised addressing the climate change emergency, which is why over the past two years we have introduced energy innovation zones to help trial clean energy solutions; committed millions of pounds of investment into clean public transport to get people out of their cars; and launched the UK’s first ever Local Industrial Strategy, which features our ambition to be the home of green industries.

“The results of all this hard work, as evidenced in the latest government figures, are clear. But there is still much more to do, and we will not stop until we have secured a clean future for generations to come.”

The new stats are included in the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Carbon Dioxide Emissions 2019 report. Emissions are broken down into four categories: industry and commercial; domestic; transport and land use, land use change and forestry.

In the WMCA area, transport was the biggest contributor to emissions – but moves are already underway to limit the impact of public transport emissions on the environment.

The figures show that tonnes of emissions per capita in the WMCA area have dropped by 4.8%, from 4.2 to 4.0 tonnes since 2016 - against the England average of 5.1 tonnes. Overall carbon emissions in the region have dropped by 3.8% since 2016 – while the England average dropped by 3.6%.

But with the region still producing 11,643 Kt of CO2 emissions between 2016 and 2017, the WMCA has said much is still to be done.

The combined authority last week declared a climate emergency in the region, pledging to take urgent action to further reduce emissions.

Cllr Ian Courts, leader of Solihull Council and WMCA portfolio holder for Environment, Energy and HS2, tabled the recommendation to declare a climate emergency at the WMCA AGM on June 28.

Cllr Courts said: “These figures show the West Midlands is moving in the right direction in reducing its emissions – and there are encouraging signs that we’re doing better than the rest of the country in terms of reducing our overall emissions, and the tonnes per capita of CO2 being produced.

“But this is not enough. Much more needs to be done to limit the dangerous pollution in our atmosphere and help to manage the effects of our changing climate.

“I am keen to see the WMCA commit to a clear carbon target at the next Board meeting and will be doing all I can to keep the environment front and centre of our agenda as we move forwards.”

Share this story