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West Midlands announces another scheme to pave green future


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A pioneering West Midlands project to create the low carbon neighbourhoods of the future was launched on Thursday (November 11) during the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow.


Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, announced a region-wide programme to build a series of ‘Net Zero Neighbourhoods’, where homes are retrofitted with insulation and green heating on a street-by-street basis alongside other low carbon infrastructure such as on-street electric vehicle charging points.


The Mayor also announced that global built environment consultancy Arup would become the programme’s first private sector partner, working on a Net Zero Neighbourhood in Wolverhampton. 


Mr Street said: “Retrofitting old and poorly insulated homes is absolutely critical to tackling the climate emergency here in the West Midlands, but that work alone does not go far enough to reduce emissions – nor does it properly regenerate our communities to become clean and green.


“Crucially, we’re bringing our first major private sector partner along with us. Working alongside Arup, we can fight climate change whilst also creating those well paid, higher value jobs of the future.”


Homes will undergo ‘deep retrofit’ using cutting-edge insulation with options for solar panels and low carbon heating systems. Other measures introduced on a neighbourhood-wide scale could include LED street lighting, new pocket parks, playgrounds, communal food growing initiatives, green roofs and sustainable drainage systems.


The WMCA is investing more than £2m into the Net Zero Neighbourhood demonstrators, with a goal to secure a major private sector partner for each pilot neighbourhood across the region.


Net Zero Neighbourhoods will also look at ways to make it easier for residents to travel in an eco-friendly way with electric bus services, electric vehicle street charging, car clubs and better walking and cycling routes.


Cllr Steve Evans, City of Wolverhampton Council’s cabinet member for city environment and climate change, added: 


“We are home to over 2,000 small and medium sized enterprises in the green energy, retrofit and green construction sectors and today’s welcome announcement by the WMCA could bring much-needed jobs and opportunities to these businesses.”


“In addition, supporting this pilot scheme builds upon our city’s growing reputation as a centre for sustainable construction and as a climate change champion.”



Written by: David Watkins

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