Virtual forest helps West Midlands be greener
More than 1,500 trees have been ‘planted’ in a virtual forest set up by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).
The Authority launched a new website in January 2020 to encourage authorities, residents and businesses to register trees they have planted, and the scheme has proved popular.
The virtual forest was launched at the same time as #WM2041, which is WMCA’s plan to be carbon neutral by 2041. This target for the region will support the delivery of the government’s national target to be carbon neutral by 2050.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “With communities starting to see the impacts of climate change, more and more people are becoming aware of the need to make changes that preserve and enhance our environment. Reaching more than 1,500 trees in a short space of time is a good start, and I am pleased we are heading in the right direction towards achieving our #WM2041 carbon neutrality goal.”
Birmingham Trees for Life planted 1,000 saplings in Sycamore Recreation Ground, Bordesley Green, with help from nine WMCA staff.
Birmingham Trees for Life chairman, Geoff Cole, said: “With so many trees being lost to development, old age and disease, it is crucial that as many of us as possible plant new ones to help fight climate change and ensure our children and grandchildren have a green and healthy environment to grow up in.
Cllr Ian Courts, WMCA portfolio holder for environment and leader of Solihull Council, said: “Tackling climate change needs everyone to contribute. Planting a tree is a practical response to help mitigate the changes we can no longer prevent and to limit any further changes to our climate.”
#WM2041 contains 74 potential actions that businesses, councils, the WMCA and residents could take to limit the impact of climate change and achieve carbon neutrality no later than 2041.
The commitment includes ambitious tree-planting programmes including one tree planted for each resident, and plans for a national park, building on the work of Birmingham City University. The plan also includes developing more eco-friendly homes, including introducing a zero-carbon standard for new-build homes.