19m trees to be planted in West Midlands

Date posted: October 5, 2021
A park with trees and green grass, the sunset shows between tree branches

Plans to plant 19 million trees across the West Midlands have been revealed by Mayor Andy Street as the Combined Authority prepares for COP26.

Aiming for 5.7% of these trees to be planted by 2026, these trees will help to address both the climate and ecological emergencies faced in the West Midlands and achieve WMCA’s goal of being net zero carbon by 2041.

Planting trees in large numbers significantly reduces the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and improves our physical and mental health.

The new forestry goals are complemented by a full set of nature plans from WMCA which also involve restoring rivers and creating and improve wildlife corridors along them and create 700 jobs to achieve the objectives.

The planting of 19 million trees across the West Midlands would see forestry increase from 1.5% today to 13% by 2041, which aligns with the long-term aims for England.

The Combined Authority has also pledged to restore five wildlife corridors along the River Cole, Rea, Sherbourne and Blythe with all rivers restored to a good condition by 2030.

These plans are part of a commitment to give all West Midlands residents access to high quality green space within a 300m walk of their home.

The West Midlands currently employs 97,000 in green industries and it is expected that tens of thousands more jobs will be created as the sector evolves.
WMCA is set to promote these plans at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) being held in Glasgow.

In the WMCA COP26 prospectus Andy said:

Our goal is to reach net zero emissions by 2041, and we have a clear plan for the first five years, promising to create tens of thousands of jobs in green industries.

It is no small task – our traditional industries are still some of the most polluting in the country, and the region remains over reliant on carbon-emitting forms of transport.

But with the right investment, public and private, we can lead a transition to net zero that leaves nobody behind.

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